Have you recently been denied disability benefits for cardiovascular disease by the Social Security Administration, your insurance company, or the Department of Veterans Affairs? If so, our disability attorneys may be able to help you win your claim.
Many times, disability claim denials based on heart disease or vascular disorders can be improved and won on appeal. The team at Marc Whitehead & Associates will represent you with experience and integrity after a life-altering disability. We invite you to contact our disability lawyers for a no cost, informative case review.
We have seen many cases where claims for Social Security disability benefits, long-term disability insurance, or veteran’s compensation were denied not because the claimant was not genuinely disabled; but because they failed to provide all the medical and other evidence needed to qualify under the organization’s requirements.
Sometimes the disability benefits program itself — whether it’s the SSA, an insurance company, or the VA — will make a mistake, or deny a claim without good reason. If this has happened to you, or if you need to apply for disability benefits initially, call us for immediate action.
Social Security Disability Benefits for Cardiovascular Disease
Under SSA’s rules, a cardiovascular impairment means any disorder that affects the proper functioning of the heart or the circulatory system (arteries, veins, capillaries, and lymphatic drainage). A disorder can be congenital (present at birth) or caused by external factors.
Social Security uses an online Listing of Impairments known as the Blue Book that lists serious medical conditions that can interfere with your ability to perform gainful employment. A person who meets or equals the criteria of a listed impairment, in both severity and duration, should be awarded disability benefits at Step 3 of the SSA’s 5-Step Sequential Evaluation process.
The Blue Book lists cardiovascular impairments under section 4.00 Cardiovascular System and include:
- Chronic Heart Failure – a.k.a. congestive heart failure, where the heart does not pump blood sufficiently;
- Ischemic heart disease – a.k.a. coronary artery disease where blood flow to the heart is reduced due to plaque build-up in the arteries of the heart. It is the main reason people have heart attacks;
- Recurrent arrhythmias – where normal rhythm or beating of the heart is too fast or too slow;
- Symptomatic congenital heart disease – where problems with the heart’s structure and function have existed since birth;
- Heart transplant – if you recently had a heart transplant, SSA will generally consider you disabled for one year following surgery. After one year, SSA will evaluate your residual impairments;
- Aneurysm of aorta or major branches – an abnormal bulge that occurs in the wall of a major blood vessel that carries blood from your heart to your body;
- Chronic venous insufficiency – when your leg veins don’t allow blood to flow back up to your heart;
- Peripheral arterial disease – an abnormal narrowing of arteries other than those that supply the heart or brain.
Are you claiming disability benefits for a cardiovascular disease not listed by SSA?
In this case, to be approved at Step 3, you’ll need to provide medical evidence that your impairment (or combination of impairments) medically equals the impairments of a similar cardiovascular condition listed in the Blue Book.
How Do You Prove Your Heart Condition Meets an SSA Listing?
Disability claims examiners look at specific medical tests, evaluations, treatment, and other factors to determine if you’re eligible for disability benefits under the umbrella of “cardiovascular disease.” The Blue Book listings for various heart disorders and vascular diseases specify all the medical criteria that must be met to qualify for SSDI benefits, including:
- medical diagnosis
- cardiac imaging
- laboratory studies
- clinical records
- exercise tests
- prescribed treatment and response
- related surgical procedures and hospitalizations
- physical limitations
What happens if you don’t meet or equal an SSA listing for heart disease?
The good news is you may still qualify for benefits. The next action SSA will take with your claim is to assess your Residual Functional Capacity (RFC). Your claim will then undergo Steps 4 and 5 of the evaluation process, where the SSA decides whether you can perform any past relevant work, or any other work.
An RFC evaluation looks at your maximum remaining ability to do sustained work activities in an ordinary work setting on a regular and continuing basis. The SSA not only takes into account all limitations associated with your cardiovascular disease; it also must consider any other problems you may have when formulating an RFC.
An experienced Social Security disability lawyer can advance your case in many ways.
One task is to work with your cardiologist to complete a cardiac RFC questionnaire that will most favorably support your claim. This RFC form provides the SSA with the details about your specific cardiovascular symptoms, diagnosis, treatment regimen, and limitations.
Winning SSDI benefits can be life-changing and you will want a knowledgeable, compassionate team of attorneys on your side. We can help you avoid any mistakes or omissions that might result in delays or the denial of your claim.
Cardiovascular Disease and Long Term Disability (LTD) Insurance Claims
The rules and laws followed by SSA vs. insurance companies are very different. If you have long-term disability insurance—covered by an employee benefits plan through your workplace or under a privately purchased policy— your entitlement to disability benefits for cardiovascular disease depends on the specific wording of the insurance policy.
It’s not uncommon for insurance companies to delay or deny a valid disability claim, or deny again on appeal. Insurers deny benefits for many reasons – both in error and by plan. You may already be receiving SSDI for cardiovascular disease, but that does not mean an insurance company will approve your LTD claim.
Even so, it is good practice to apply the same criteria and scope of evidence used to prevail in an SSDI claim for cardiovascular disease. This lays a strong foundation for developing a solid LTD insurance claim or an appeal that will stand up in court.
Long-term consequences of heart disease on working individuals can be devastating. Our firm has litigated against every major U.S. disability insurance carrier. Our attorneys deal with these companies on a daily basis, and are very familiar with each company’s claims handling practice.
We can help you with every aspect of your denied LTD claim and will research your case to reveal any wrongful denial or mishandling on the part of the insurer. Our attorneys will prepare a customized strategy designed to rebut the insurer’s denial and give you the best chance of obtaining the benefits you deserve.
If you need to file an initial LTD claim to the insurance company, we will help you prepare a conclusive application for disability benefits for cardiovascular disease, so that it is handled correctly from the start.
Our Lawyers Help Veterans get Disability Benefits for Cardiovascular Disease
As a veteran, your time in the military could be responsible for many different impairments affecting your heart and blood vessels. Cardiovascular diseases for veterans range from peripheral artery disease and high blood pressure to heart attacks and strokes.
According to the VA, heart disease is the number-one cause of hospitalization for veterans and a primary cause of disability. Veterans suffer service-connected heart disorders from many causes, including posttraumatic stress disorder, exposure to Agent Orange and other toxic chemicals, diabetes, spinal cord trauma, and sleep apnea.
VA evaluates heart conditions under 38 CFR § 4.104, Schedule of Ratings – Cardiovascular System. Criteria are listed as:
- Diseases of the Heart (Diagnostic Codes 7000 — 7020)
- Diseases of the Arteries and Veins (Diagnostic Codes 7101 — 7123)
When applying for VA disability benefits for cardiovascular disease, you will need to prove a direct service connection or service connection by aggravation. Veterans with a pre-existing cardiovascular condition or congenital heart disease may have a valid claim for service-connected VA compensation if that condition was made worse by your time in service.
VA Presumptive Conditions for Heart Disease:
VA assumes certain diseases of the cardiovascular system can be related to a veteran’s qualifying military service. These are called “presumptive diseases” and include the following circumstances:
- Agent Orange Exposure: VA presumes service connection of Ischemic Heart Disease (including Coronary Artery Disease, stable and unstable angina, myocardial infarction, and sudden cardiac death). If you were exposed to Agent Orange and meet service requirements, you do not have to prove a medical nexus between their condition and their military service.
- Gulf War Veterans’ Medically Unexplained Illnesses: VA presumes service connection of cardiovascular symptoms if you served in the Gulf War and have a condition that is at least 10% disabling by December 31, 2021. VA refers to these illnesses as “chronic multi-symptom illness” and “undiagnosed illnesses” that include cardiovascular disease.
- Other qualifying veterans with at least 90 days of continuous service can be eligible for presumptive service connection for conditions such as arteriosclerosis, endocarditis, myocarditis, and Raynaud’s disease.
Cardiovascular disease is often associated with many other diseases that affect veterans. It can be very confusing and frustrating for the disabled veteran to prove all the requirements the VA has imposed to finally get the maximum ratings deserved.
When you work with the veterans’ disability team at Marc Whitehead & Associates, you have experienced lawyers in your corner who are committed to fighting for you and removing this burden. Find out more about our accredited veterans claim attorneys. We have helped veterans across the country obtain the disability benefits they are owed, and we would be proud to assist you.
Let an Experienced Disability Attorney Help
Winning disability benefits for cardiovascular disease takes legal and medical resources, knowledge of disability law, and a focused understanding of the vast array of heart-related conditions as they relate to one’s ability to work.
When we take on a case, it is because we believe in the merits of that case. Marc Whitehead & Associates law firm works with people nationwide who have been improperly denied disability insurance benefits by the Social Security Administration, their insurance company, or the VA.