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Can heart disease qualify a person for SSD benefits?

A sudden unexpected illness can wreak havoc on a person's health, confidence, personal relationships and ability to earn a living. Without an ability to work and earn a living, it can become very difficult for people to meet their daily needs or adequately care for their health. Fortunately, there is social security disability for illness and benefits are available for a wide range of illnesses and conditions, including heart disease.

In general, SSD benefits are available for people with a cardiovascular impairment, as long as they meet the other eligibility requirements. A cardiovascular impairment is defined by the Social Security Administration as any disorder that affects the functioning of the heart or circulatory system, including the lymphatic drainage, veins, capillaries, and arteries. In order to qualify for benefits based on heart disease, it does not matter whether the cardiovascular impairment is acquired or congenital.

In determining whether the cardiovascular impairment meets the requirements of the SSD program, the SSA will examine signs of the disease or impairment, symptoms, laboratory findings, functional limitations, what kind of treatment has been prescribed, and how the person has responded to the prescribed treatment. When someone applies for disability benefits based on heart disease, he or she will have to provide extensive documentation related to the condition, including the person's medical history, the results of physical examinations and medical tests, and other details related to the severity and duration of the impairment.

The Social Security Administration's Blue Book lists out eight different categories of cardiovascular impairments related to heart disease that can qualify a person for disability benefits: chronic venous insufficiency, chronic heart failure, ischemic heart disease, symptomatic congenital heart disease, heart transplant, aneurysm of aorta or major branches, and peripheral arterial disease. The Blue Book describes the definition and description of these various conditions, which can enable a prospective applicant to evaluate his or her condition against the requirements.

Source: Social Security Administration, "Disability Evaluation Under Social Security: 4.00 Cardiovascular System - Adult," last accessed Dec. 21, 2014

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