Many Americans suffer from high blood pressure, also known as hypertension. While it is often manageable with the appropriate diet, exercise plan, and medication, many people experience complications as a result of their high blood pressure. Hypertension can cause an increased risk of heart disease, stroke, and heart failure. Hypertension is also often a symptom of serious diseases including:
Treatments and medications for hypertension can be expensive, which can be problematic, especially if your high blood pressure keeps you out of work. Fortunately, people who are unable to work as a result of their medical conditions may be eligible for Social Security disability benefits. For help getting Social Security disability for hypertension in Pittsburgh, PA, call a disability lawyer at Berger and Green today: 412-661-1400.
Am I eligible for disability benefits?
Your eligibility for Social Security disability benefits hinges on the type of benefit for which you are applying.
To qualify for SSDI, workers must have paid into the Social Security system for a long enough period of time. As a worker gets older, the Social Security Administration (SSA) expects that s/he will have a higher number of work credits.
SSI, on the other hand, does not require you to have work credits. However, the program does require that workers have a low income and assets worth less than $2,000 for an individual.
In addition to proving low income or work credits, you must also prove the severity of your condition, using either the SSA’s Blue Book or an RFC assessment.
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Using the Blue Book
The SSA will first use its Blue Book, or Listing of Impairments, to determine if someone is disabled. To prove disability, a claim must establish that his/her condition meets the severity requirements under the condition.
Hypertension will likely not qualify for disability benefits on its own. However, high blood pressure can cause various conditions in different parts of the body. Some of the systems affected include:
- Heart (e.g., heart failure, artery damage and narrowing, coronary artery disease)
- Brain (e.g., stroke, dementia)
- Kidneys (e.g., renal failure, kidney artery aneurysm)
- Eyes (e.g., nerve damage, eye blood vessel damage, fluid buildup under retina)
To prove disability from a stroke, for example, you must establish:
- “Sensory or motor aphasia resulting in ineffective speech or communication persisting for at least 3 consecutive months after the [stroke]; or
- Disorganization of motor function in two extremities, resulting in an extreme limitation in the ability to stand up from a seated position, balance while standing or walking, or use the upper extremities, persisting for at least 3 consecutive months after the [stroke]; or
- Marked limitation in physical functioning and in one of the following areas of mental functioning, both persisting for at least 3 consecutive months after the [stroke]: understanding, remembering, or applying information; interacting with others; or concentrating, persisting, or maintaining pace; or adapting or managing oneself.
You must also prove that your condition has lasted, or a doctor expects it to last, at least 12 months or result in death.
If your condition is not on the Listing of Impairments or if you do not meet the condition’s severity criteria, you have another option.
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Qualifying Via a Medical Vocational Allowance
If your condition is not in the Listing of Impairments, you are not out of options. You can also qualify for a medical vocational allowance if you prove that your condition is so severe that it keeps you from working.
To decide whether you qualify for a medical vocational allowance, the SSA will examine your medical records and determine what work you are still able to perform.
To establish this, the SSA will have you undergo a residual functional capacity, or RFC, assessment. In this assessment, an examiner will have you perform basic functions such as bending, sitting, standing, grasping objects, etc.
If the SSA determines that you are unable to adjust to any type of work, it will find you disabled and, therefore, eligible for benefits.
Proving Your Case to the SSA
In order to prove that your hypertension complications are really keeping you out of the workplace, you will need to offer up as much evidence as possible. This evidence will likely include:
- Medical records describing all of your medical conditions, complications, treatments, medications, and symptoms
- Hospital stay records
- Surgery reports detailing any surgical procedures you endured
- Blood pressure test results
- Doctor’s report including detailed notes on your condition
- Any diagnostic tests or imaging results
Applying for Social Security disability benefits can be challenging, especially for high blood pressure, and denials are common. But do not lose hope.
Berger and Green is more than familiar with the Social Security system and can help you appeal your denial and present the right evidence to the SSA. Providing detailed evidence will encourage the SSA to award you with the disability benefits you deserve.
If your claim is successful, you will be able to recover benefits to pay your medical bills and provide you with a steady income even when you are unable to work. Call 412-661-1400 to discuss your Social Security disability benefits case today.