Social Security Disability and Congestive Heart Failure

Congestive heart failure can make working a job dangerous, which makes it challenging to continue full-time employment. However, not being able to keep a traditional job can cause financial issues. Rather than letting this turn into an endless cycle, Social Security disability benefits may help with the situation. Individuals suffering from congestive heart failure may qualify to add to their monthly income and help cover medical treatment through disability benefits. 

Symptoms & Treatment 

Heart failure refers to a heart muscle that doesn’t pump blood as well as it is expected to. Some conditions, like high blood pressure and narrowed heart arteries, can leave the heart weak and unable to fill and pump efficiently. Some of the symptoms of congestive heart failure include:  

  • Chest pain in heart failure caused by a heart attack 
  • Shortness of breath when lying down or exerting yourself 
  • Severe, sudden shortness of breath and coughing up foamy mucus 
  • Swelling of the ankles, legs, and feet 
  • Trouble concentrating and decreased alertness 
  • Irregular or rapid heartbeat 
  • Nausea and lack of appetite 
  • Reduced ability to exercise 
  • Quick weight gain from retention of fluids 
  • Persistent wheezing or coughing with pink or white phlegm 
  • Abdomen swelling 
  • Increased need to urinate through the night

Treatment for heart failure requires lifelong management. However, the correct treatment can improve the symptoms of the issue and the heart may sometimes become stronger. Treatment also helps individuals live longer and makes it less likely to pass away suddenly. 

In some cases, heart failure is treated through the underlying cause. Most people’s treatment, however, will involve a selection of medications. Some individuals may also need to use specific devices that help the heart contract and beat correctly.  

Causes of Congestive Heart Failure  

Heart failure is often something that occurs after other conditions weaken or damage the heart. However, this isn’t the case 100% of the time. Sometimes the heart will become too stiff without any underlying reasons to account for the change. However, all of the conditions below can damage the heart and eventually cause heart failure.  

  • Damaged heart muscle 
  • Myocarditis 
  • Congenital heart defects 
  • Abnormal heart rhythm 
  • Other diseases like diabetes, hyperthyroidism, HIVhypothyroidism, or buildup of protein or iron 

Qualifying Under Blue Book Listing  

When you’re applying for SSA disability benefits, you will have your condition compared to a listing of conditions in the Blue Book. All conditions that can lead to disability are mentioned in the Blue Book, along with the criteria for each of them.  

Congestive heart failure is found under Section 4.02 of the Blue Book. To receive benefits for this medical condition, you need to prove the following:  

  • Diagnosis with heart failure even while undergoing appropriately prescribed treatment 
  • Medical documentation of systolic failure or ejection fraction within a specific set of numbers set by the SSA 
  • Persistent symptoms of heart failure that create a situation where it’s challenging to complete the activities of daily living or at least three document episode of acute congestive heart failure within one year

Symptoms of Congestive Heart Failure 

The symptoms required to receive disability benefits for congestive heart failure require you to be under prescribed treatment. You must also have certain symptoms depending on the type of heart failure you are experiencing. 

Systolic Failure 

Those with systolic heart failure have hearts that aren’t able to pump blood out into the body. This can result in blood backing up into certain parts of the body to create congestion of the lungs, livers, extremities, or gastrointestinal tract.  

Diastolic Failure 

Diastolic heart failure can cause the same problems as systolic failure. The main difference between the two is that with diastolic heart failure, the heart chambers cannot fill correctly with blood. Some people have diastolic and systolic heart failure at the same time. 

Functional Limitations of Congestive Heart Failure 

When applying for disability benefits, your physician will complete a form that details how the illness affects your life. For instance, it will explain if you have mental confusion that impacts your memory, whether you have severe swelling that makes standing difficult, or whether you need to reposition every few hours. These all have a part in whether you can care for yourself or work a full-time job. 

If you have congestive heart failure and are interested in Social Security disability benefits, the team at the Disability Help Center can assist you with the process.