While arrhythmias, or irregular heartbeats, are common, they can be very serious and lead to long-term disability and complications such as heart, brain, lung, and kidney damage. Unfortunately, having an arrhythmia is not enough to merit Social Security disability benefits. Your condition must be severely impairing for Social Security to consider you disabled.
If you have been diagnosed with a recurrent arrhythmia, it is affecting your ability to work, and you meet certain severity criteria, then you may qualify for monthly benefits. For a free case evaluation to determine eligibility for Social Security disability for recurrent arrhythmias in Pittsburgh, call Berger and Green today at 412-661-1400.
Will my recurrent arrhythmias qualify me for disability benefits?
In what it refers to as the Blue Book, the Social Security Administration (SSA) maintains a list of conditions that it considers disabling. Recurrent arrhythmias are one of the listed conditions under Section 4.00: Cardiovascular System. The arrhythmia guidelines state that if you meet all of the following criteria, the SSA will determine you disabled:
- Your arrhythmia is not related to a reversible condition, such as electrolyte abnormalities or drug toxicity.
- Your arrhythmia continues despite adhering to prescribed treatments.
- Your arrhythmia caused syncope (fainting or loss of consciousness) or near syncope (altered consciousness) on at least three separate occasions in 12 consecutive months.
Are there other ways to qualify?
If your arrhythmia does not fit the above requirements, you might qualify under a different listing if you have another, related impairment such as heart disease or chronic kidney disease, or if you can prove your condition or combination of conditions seriously impedes your ability to work.
The SSA will evaluate your medical files and determine your residual functional capacity (RFC). Using your medical records and any forms filled out by your medical providers, the adjudicator will look at what kinds of basic skills you still have and what your functional limitations are. S/he will take your age, job skills, and education into consideration, too. If s/he finds that your condition and symptoms are so limiting that there is no job that you can do, the SSA might still grant you benefits via a medical vocational allowance.
What does the SSA need from me?
You will need to submit details about your medical providers so the adjudicator can order your medical records to prove your diagnosis and the severity of your condition to the SSA. If you are filing a claim for listing-level recurrent arrhythmia, one of the primary things you will need is medical documentation (e.g., Holter monitoring and tilt-table testing with a concurrent ECG) that proves a direct association between your syncope/near syncope and the arrhythmia.
The more comprehensive your medical records, the better you will be able to support your claim. In fact, insufficient medical records one of the reasons the SSA denies disability claims.
We can help the SSA gather the records you need, including those from all providers you have seen for your condition, e.g., your general doctor, cardiologist, clinics, and hospitals. Your records should include not only your tests and diagnosis, but also treatments you have tried, your reaction to them, your limitations, and your prognosis.
I qualify under the listing or a medical vocational analysis. Am I done with the process?
No. In addition to meeting the SSA’s definition of disability by either satisfying the listing for arrhythmia or getting a medical vocational allowance, there are several other criteria you must meet in order to collect disability benefits:
- Your condition must have lasted or be expected to last a year or more or result in death.
- You must not be engaging in “substantial gainful activity,” which the SSA defines as earning more than $1,170/month.
- You must meet either financial or work history requirements, depending on which type of benefit you are applying for. For Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits, you must have sufficient work credits on your record. (The number of required credits is contingent upon your age.) Those applying for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits must have limited income (much lower than the SGA amount) and limited resources.
Do I need a lawyer for my Social Security disability application?
While a lawyer is not legally required, a Social Security disability lawyer is a great asset for your case, especially if you received a claim denial. There are various reasons for rejections, including insufficient medical evidence, technical issues, and administrative errors. If you recently received a denial letter, we can help you appeal your case.
After we determine why the SSA denied your claim, we will help the SSA gather the required evidence to support your claim. We can speak to medical experts about your condition; collect letters from your friends and family members about how your condition is affecting your ability to work; and explain any new developments in your condition during your hearing with the administrative law judge (ALJ).
Note: Do not lose hope if the ALJ upholds the SSA’s decision. There are several levels of appeals we can utilize if appropriate. If you are unable to work because of your arrhythmia, it is certainly worth fighting for your rights to benefits.
Can I afford a lawyer in Pittsburgh for my arrhythmia disability case?
Yes. At Berger and Green, we do not charge our clients legal fees until they win their benefits, so there are no upfront payments on your part. Our disability lawyers and support team care very much about our clients and are passionate about helping them secure the benefits they need and deserve.
We encourage you to call our office in Pittsburgh and speak to someone about your case. The call is free. We would be happy to answer any questions you may have and explain how we may be of service to you. Contact us today: 412-661-1400.