January 23, 2020

Heart Disease and Social Security Disability

The Social Security Administration recognizes that serious heart disease can limit your capacity to function at any job, even if that job requires no lifting, walking, pushing, pulling or other physical activity. SSA defines “disability” in terms of how your medical condition or conditions impacts your ability to work. 

More specifically SSA defines disability as the “inability to engage in substantial gainful activity because of a medical condition or conditions that has lasted or is expected to last 12 consecutive months or result in death.” If you have heart disease, you most likely have limitations on your physical capacity.   And in some cases these limitations are enough to win your claim.  This is true if your doctor will go on record to say that you do not have the capacity to perform the duties of even a simple, entry-level, sit down job 8 hours per day, 5 days per week.

Our experience has also been that heart patients have other limitations in addition to those which impact physical capacity.  For example, if you have been prescribed a diuretic, you may need to use the restroom hourly or every half hour.  Most employers – especially those offering entry-level jobs, would not permit excessive unscheduled breaks.

Heart patients may also have problems with concentration.  If every irregular heart beat leads you to fear an imminent heart attack, or if you become depressed about your inability to function like you did in the past, your capacity for attention and concentration, and appropriate pace of work may be impaired.

Every Social Security disability claimant should approach his or her case with a working “theory of disability.”  There are three theories of disability which may apply – your case may involve one, two or all three of these:

  1. do you meet a listing?  Social Security’s cardiac listings are here.
  2. do you meet a grid rule?  If you are over age 50 and have physical limitations, you might.  Read more about the grid rules here.
  3. do you have a less than sedentary functional capacity for work?  Can you convince a judge that you would not be a reliable and productive full time worker at any job?

Obviously a Social Security judge will require extensive evidence to support your claim regardless of the theory of disability you use.  This is where an experienced lawyer comes in.  If you believe that the physical and mental (concentration/focus) problems associate with your heart condition have left you without the capacity to work 8 hours per day, 5 days per week in even a simple, entry-level job, you may qualify.

Please use the form on the right side of this page to tell us a little about your case and one of the attorneys will call or email.  If you choose to hire a lawyer, you pay no up front fees – instead you pay 25% of past due benefits (with a cap of $6,000) if you win. Please let us know if we can help you.