Cardiovascular impairments affect millions of people nationwide. High cholesterol contributes to a number of these impairments including heart disease, stroke, peripheral vascular disease, and other serious heart-related issues.
It is no secret that the medical bills resulting from complications of high cholesterol can total thousands of dollars. With so many medical expenses, many people count on their jobs to earn money to pay their bills. Unfortunately, many people with medical conditions related to high cholesterol are unable to work. If your condition impairs your ability to work, you may be able to apply for Social Security disability for complications of high cholesterol in Pittsburgh.
For help, call a disability lawyer at Berger and Green today: 412-661-1400.
What benefits might I be eligible for?
Depending on your work history and your monthly income, you might be eligible for either of the following:
- Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI): SSDI provides benefits for people who paid into Social Security through their jobs. To be eligible for SSDI, you must have a certain amount of work credits (the amount depends on your age), you must be disabled, and your condition must keep you from working for 12 consecutive months.
- Supplemental Security Insurance (SSI): SSI is for disabled individuals or those over the age of 65. To be eligible for SSI, you must make below a certain amount per month and you must be unable for work for 12 consecutive months.
Will my high cholesterol qualify me as disabled?
There are two main ways to qualify for disability benefits: through the Blue Book Listing and through a residual functional capacity (RFC) assessment.
SSA’s Blue Book Listing
The Social Security Administration (SSA) keeps a list of medical conditions entitled the “Listing of Impairments” or Blue Book. This Blue Book contains the severity requirements claimants must meet for the SSA to deem them disabled.
Merely having high cholesterol will not qualify you as disabled; however, some of the conditions that result from high cholesterol, listed in Section 4.00, might.
Some of these conditions include:
Chronic venous insufficiency (4.11):
To establish disability under Section 4.11, you need to prove that you have “improper functioning of the vein valve” of a “lower extremity with incompetency or obstruction of the deep venous system and one of the following:
- Extensive brawny edema involving at least two-thirds of the leg between the ankle and knee or the distal one-third of the lower extremity between the ankle and hip; or
- Superficial varicosities, stasis dermatitis, and either recurrent ulceration or persistent ulceration that has not healed following at least 3 months of prescribed treatment.”
Peripheral arterial disease (4.12):
To be disabled under Section 4.12, you must prove you are suffering from “intermittent claudication and one of the following:
- Resting ankle/brachial systolic blood pressure ratio of less than 0.50; or
- Decrease in systolic blood pressure at the ankle on exercise of 50 percent or more of pre-exercise level and requiring 10 minutes or more to return to pre-exercise level; or
- Resting toe systolic pressure of less than 30 mm Hg.; or
- Resting toe/brachial systolic blood pressure ratio of less than 0.40.”
You may also qualify under other listed conditions relating to high cholesterol. Some of these conditions are:
If you are able to satisfy the severity criteria listed under these conditions, you may qualify for benefits.
If you do not qualify for benefits under the Blue Book criteria, you must submit to a residual functional capacity (RFC) assessment.
The RFC determines what limitations your condition causes and what you are still able to do despite your condition. The examiner will refer to your medical file, your doctor’s notes, your diagnosis, and prognosis. The examiner might also ask how you perform possible work-related tasks such as sitting, standing, stooping, bending over, lifting your arms, and pushing or pulling an object.
If the examiner finds that you are unable to perform these tasks and — despite your skills, age, education, and work history — are unable to work, the SSA will consider you disabled.
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What documentation should I submit with my application for SSD benefits?
When evaluating your Social Security disability case, the SSA will require specific evidence regarding your how your high cholesterol affects your ability to work. Here are some of the most important documents you should submit:
- Doctor’s report detailing any complications, symptoms, treatments and physical limitations.
- Diagnostic test results documenting your conditions
- MRIs, CT scans, and other scans indicating vein and artery blockage and narrowing
- Surgical reports detailing any vascular problems
You can also submit statements or testimony from your employer, coworkers, and partner to establish how your condition limits you.
Do I have options if the SSA denies my claim?
Yes. Claims denials are very common; as such, the SSA provides an appeals process that will allow you to request the SSA reconsider its decision.
If you have not spoken with a lawyer about your claim, now is the time to do so. The appeals process is difficult and can be time-consuming and expensive. Do not waste your time and money; speak with a Berger and Green disability attorney as soon as possible. We have had many successes recovering clients’ benefits during the appeals process; see if we can do the same for you.
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The attorneys on staff have years of experience handling complex Social Security disability cases. Recovering SSDI and SSI benefits can give you and your family the financial support you need to get through this difficult time. Call 412-661-1400 today for a free consultation.