Experts estimate that 960,000 patients experience congestive heart failure every single year. With over 6 million Americans living with congestive heart failure, these patients and their family members may explore benefits like SSDI to help support that person financially.
If your doctor gave you a congestive heart failure diagnosis recently, you may be eligible for Social Security disability benefits. Getting paid for an SSDI claim is not as simple as showing a diagnosis of the medical condition; each applicant must meet certain requirements to win approval.
In order to pursue your initial application or to get assistance with a denied application, hiring our SSDI attorneys in Arkansas may be necessary. The Social Security disability lawyers at Denton & Zachary we can help you apply for or respond to denied applications for SSDI based on a diagnosis of congestive heart failure.
What Is Congestive Heart Failure?
The Social Security Administration calls congestive heart failure chronic heart failure.
To determine whether or not a chronic heart failure diagnosis meets the grounds for approval of Social Security disability benefits, the SSA looks at whether or not your heart failure is critical enough to equal a listing at step three of their sequential evaluation process.
If your symptoms and condition equal a listing due to congestive heart failure, you are considered disabled and should be approved for benefits.
However, if your chronic heart failure is not enough to meet a listing, the Social Security Administration looks at your residual functional capacity to determine the level of work you’re still able to do.
Does Congestive Heart Failure Qualify for Disability?
In order to be approved for a chronic heart failure disability through SSDI, you must meet the following requirements.
You must have a medical record with evidence of either:
- Left ventricular end diastolic dimensions higher than 6.0 centimeters
- An ejection fraction of 30% or less during a stable period
- Left ventricular posterior wall septal thickness at 2.5 centimeters or greater
- Enlarged left atriums higher than or equal to 4.5 centimeters
- Elevated ejection fraction, or normal ejection fraction during a period of stability
With these conditions of diastolic or systolic dysfunction, one of the following issues must also be present:
- At least three individual episodes of acute congestive heart failure in one consecutive year long period
- Persistent symptoms of heart failure which critically limit the ability to independently sustain, initiate or complete activities of daily living
- A medical provider believes that the performance of an exercise tolerance test would put a significant risk to the individual’s health.
These complex issues can be very confusing for someone with a CHF diagnosis, which is why many use lawyers to help with their disability benefits claims.
Complications of Congestive Heart Failure
Congestive heart failure refers to the inability of a person’s heart to effectively pump enough oxygenated blood to the body’s tissues. Chronic heart failure affects approximately 5 million people across the United States and increasingly affects more individuals due to the aging population.
There are many different factors that can influence a heart’s ability to pump blood, including cardiomyopathy, ischemic heart disease, or a heart attack.
The failure of the heart’s ventricles to effectively pump blood leads to blood accumulation in the heart and enlargement of the patient’s ventricles.
Some of the most common complications from congestive heart failure include kidney damage, malnutrition, liver damage, sudden cardiac arrest, heart valve problems, irregular heartbeat and pulmonary hypertension.
How To Apply for Disability Benefits for Congestive Heart Failure
If your medical records establish that you meet each element for your listing of congestive heart failure to be classified as disabling, you can submit an SSDI application. The SSA looks for a diagnosis of severe and continuing heart failure despite medication and is also looking for fluid retention at some point.
Objective symptoms of either diastolic or systolic heart failure is necessary in order for someone to receive approval for an SSDI congestive heart failure claim.
What Are the Symptoms of Congestive Heart Failure?
If you have not yet been diagnosed with congestive heart failure, you may need to note the symptoms, which may range from mild to severe. These symptoms can include irregular or rapid heartbeat, fatigue, weakness, confusion and dizziness, fluid and water retention and congested lungs that lead to a hacking cough or shortness of breath.
What are the most common reasons for the SSA to deny a congestive heart failure application?
Many applications are denied because the SSA claims that you can return to the lightest job you held in the previous 15 years before disability, there is other work you can do in the national economy based on your transferable skills, education, age, and residual functional capacity, or your congestive heart failure does not meet the requirements of a medical listing.
How do I appeal a denied CHF claim?
SSDI claims are more likely to get denied than approved, especially on first submission. Applicants face four stages in an appeals process, known as:
- A hearing before an Administrative Law Judge
- An Appeals Council review
- A Federal District Court judge evaluation
For your reconsideration process, you’re asking the SSA to look at your application a second time. You can provide more evidence at this stage, such as asking your physician to write a sworn statement about how your heart failure impacts your ability to work.
At this stage and at every other level of appeal, it’s well worth hiring an SSDI attorney to help you with your claim. Trying to manage the entire appeals process on your own can be frustrating and time-consuming when your health conditions limit you.
Request an SSDI Attorney in Arkansas to Help with Your Claim
It is very important to work with a qualified SSDI attorney to help you with your application or a denial.
Denton & Zachary can work with you to explain the process, handle acquiring additional evidence that bolsters your claim, and help you respond to any denial details. Contact us to begin your case today.