Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD) can cause intense pain and difficulty standing, walking, climbing stairs, and performing other activities. In addition to affecting the legs, it can also reduce blood flow to your vital organs. The Social Security Administration (SSA) awards Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits to those who suffer from PAD in certain circumstances.
Meeting the criteria to qualify for disability benefits for PAD is not easy. At Berger and Green, our experienced attorneys understand the criteria for these programs and can help you determine if you qualify. If the SSA already denied your benefits, we can navigate the appeals process for you and help you secure the benefits you deserve. Call us today at 412-661-1400 to discuss your options for getting disability for PAD in Pittsburgh.
Does the SSA consider PAD a disability?
Under some circumstances, PAD qualifies as a disability under SSA rules. You can find this impairment listing in the SSA’s listing of impairments, also known as the Blue Book. In addition to having a PAD diagnosis, you also need to prove your condition meets certain criteria to qualify for SSD benefits. To meet these criteria, your condition must prevent you from working and:
- Cause exercise-induced cramping of the legs;
- Cause a resting systolic blood pressure ratio of less than 0.50 when measured at the arm or ankle;
- Cause a resting systolic pressure of below 30 mm Hg when measured at the toe;
- Cause a resting systolic blood pressure ratio of less than 0.40 when measured at the arm or toe; or
- Cause at least a 50% decrease in systolic blood pressure during exercise, with an extended recovery period of 10 minutes or more.
If you believe you may qualify for disability benefits because of your PAD diagnosis, you need to discuss it with your doctor. He or she can help you determine if you meet these qualifications and ensure your medical records reflect impairments your condition causes. Our disability lawyers can also help you identify whether you meet this criteria.
You may still qualify for benefits because of your PAD even though you do not meet these criteria. If your medical records indicate you cannot work because of your health condition, the SSA will evaluate your application based on your residual functional capacity. This means they will look at how your condition affects your ability to do specific tasks related to your job, as well as your ability to do everyday activities.
How can I prove my disability claim?
The most difficult part of qualifying for disability benefits is often collecting the evidence necessary to support your claim. The SSA will request and analyze medical records from the doctors you list on your application, but you do not want to apply without first ensuring these records adequately document your impairments.
You can talk to Berger and Green about your disabling conditions before you apply for benefits. The SSA expects to see detailed reports about clinical examinations, test results, laboratory findings, and imaging studies included in your claim file. This allows them to make a decision based on the severity and duration of your condition and your prognosis for recovery.
If they cannot get the documentation they need, they will either request you attend an evaluation with one of their doctors or they will deny your claim. This is why it is important to ensure you provide Social Security with complete information about your medical providers including your physician, any specialists, therapists, or others when you apply.
Are there other criteria I must meet to receive benefits?
While meeting the definition of disabled is the same for all disability programs, other criteria vary depending on the specific program.
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) requires you earn a certain number of work credits depending on your age. For most people, this requires working at least part time for the 5 out of the last 10 years, though younger applicants may qualify with less work experience.
In addition, you cannot earn more than the 2017 substantial gainful activity limit of $1,170 per month. It is important to note this limit only counts earned income. Investment income, for example, does not count against this total.
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) has additional qualification criteria above and beyond the SSDI program. You must meet much lower income limits and also have limited resources available to you. We can evaluate your situation and determine if you qualify for these benefits or any related benefits such as Medicaid.
How can I fight a SSD denial?
We know all too well how often qualified people receive a denial of benefits for disability benefits. If we help you file an application we avoid common application mistakes. There are a wide variety of application mistakes that lead to a denial and we have experience dealing with most of them. Missing documentation, skipped questions on the application, a physician’s mistakes, and almost any other hiccup in the application and evaluation process can trigger a denial.
We can track down the cause of your denial and navigate the appeals process for you. You need to act quickly, though. We have a limited time after you receive your letter to request a hearing with an administrative law judge, collect the proper documentation based on your impairment, and present the evidence to support your claim.
While we can usually get qualified clients approved for benefits and recover any back pay due during this hearing, we can also pursue further action to appeal a denial when necessary.
How can I reach a Pittsburgh disability attorney?
The skilled and knowledgeable disability lawyers at Berger and Green help Pittsburgh-area residents get the SSDI and SSI benefits they deserve. Whether you need guidance through the initial application process or help filing an appeal, we are here for you.
Call us today at 412-661-1400 to learn more about our services and to schedule a time to discuss your claim.