Heart Problems that may Qualify for Social Security Disability
Chronic Heart Failure, Ischemic Heart Disease,
Cardiac Arrhythmias, Peripheral Vascular Disease,
Cardiac Impairments

This list of conditions which may qualify one to receive Social Security disability benefits is not intended to be authoritarian in nature and is provided only for your information. This information may not be the latest rulings provided by the SSA. Detailed information can be obtained from the Social Security Administration's website where this information was obtained. You may also fill out the form on this page for a FREE claim evaluation.

The Key!

When considering you for Social Security disability benefits, the SSA will review your symptoms, the signs of your cardiovascular illness, laboratory findings, your response to prescribed treatment, as well as your functional limitations.Man holding little girl on lap. The Cochran Firm Social Security Disability Lawyers would like to help you apply for Social Security disability benefits for heart problems. It is important that you can provide evidence that your condition will continue its severity or become worse in the future. The SSA will need reports from your doctors that detail your cardiovascular history, physical examinations, lab reports, your prescribed treatments and how you are responding to those treatments. A Cochran Firm Social Security disability lawyer can help you gather this paperwork. It is strongly suggested that you follow your doctor's recommendations and treatments as closely as possible. Non compliance to your doctor's orders may count against you when applying for disability benefits for heart problems.

You should file immediately if you feel you are or may become disabled due to the SSA may hold your disability application for three months if you are currently undergoing treatment that may result in an improvement in your condition. These instances include a new drug therapy, a recent corrective procedure such as heart bypass surgery or if you just recently had a heart attack. However, your Social Security disability attorney may be able to show that your condition is such that treatment is unlikely to change the ability to return to work within twelve months, thus preventing a three month hold.

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Mistakes can easily be made and cause your claim to be denied. Why wait until after you have been denied or benefits are delayed? Fill out the form now and receive help.

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The SSA may request that you undergo an exercise test (at their expense) to confirm your inability to work unless that test may cause significant risk or the results of similar testing is well documented.

Social Security Disability and Heart Problems

According to the Centers for Disease control, over a quarter of all deaths in the United States are caused by heart disease. All ethnicities are statistically affected at about the same rate. When the heart stops pumping effectively, the arteries or veins of the body become blocked. When some other illness strikes the cardiovascular or lymphatic systems the result may be many years of inability to work. The Social Security Administration provides Social Security disability benefits to those qualifying who suffer from heart related diseases such as chronic heart failure, ischemic heart disease, recurrent arrhythmias, symptomatic congenital heart disease, heart transplant recipients, aneurysm of the aorta or major branches, chronic venous insufficiency and peripheral artery disease.

Chronic Heart Failure (CHF)

Chronic heart failure is characterized by an inability of the heart to adequately pump blood throughout the body. This could be due to several different causes. Condition confirmation may be made by a heart catheterization, various imaging tests and other methods. Documentation should show a CHRONIC condition. Despite any cardiac test findings, THE SSA will place importance on your functioning ability and may order additional testing to determine your functionality prior to determining provision of Social Security disability benefits for chronic heart failure.Social Security disability and heart problems

Ischemic Heart Disease (IHD)

Ischemic Heart Disease is a result of inadequate blood flow to the tissues of the heart which may result in chest discomfort or pain and or pain in other areas such as the back, jaw, left shoulder or arm. The pain is generally referred to as angina pectoris, or angina for short, when the pain is caused by movement or exertion and is usually relieved with rest. On occasion, some people may not have any pain at all and still have IHD. The most common medication prescribed for angina is nitroglycerin.

The SSA will consider the severity and duration of your ischemic heart disease when determining if you qualify for Social Security disability benefits.

Cardiac Arrhythmias

Many people live with cardiac arrhythmias that do not cause any lowering of functioning ability. Some missed or irregular heartbeats may be caused by simply drinking too much caffeine. In many instances cardiac arrhythmias are controlled with medication. However for those who have significant heart beat irregularities, arrhythmias can be very scary occurrences. Sometimes the person can actually feel their heart "fluttering" or moving irregularly in their chest.

The Social Security Administration will consider how well your arrhythmias are controlled by medication or an implanted device such as a pacemaker or defibrillator. They will also look at if your heart problem results in syncope (the partial to complete loss of consciousness). The SSA will want documentation that connects the syncope with the arrhythmia.

The SSA will also look at those with implanted defibrillators to determine how often the defibrillator is activated and what causes activation for that particular person. Some people have activation more frequently than others and a defibrillating shock may be caused by a weak heartbeat or exertion causing the heart to have an arrhythmia. Of course some work involves exertion, therefore you may qualify for Social Security disability benefits if you have been diagnosed with cardiac arrhythmia.

Peripheral Vascular Disease

Peripheral vascular disease generally affects the arteries and veins in the extremities, especially the legs. It may be blood clots (thrombosis), hardening of the arteries, aneurysms, or other causes.

The SSA will consider your limitations from peripheral vascular disease based on your symptoms, physical findings and any tests that have been completed to diagnose and evaluate the severity of the vascular disease when determining your eligibility for Social Security disability insurance. 


Lymphedema is the swelling of the extremities due to a disorder of the lymphatic circulation. Severe cases of lymphedema are called elephantitis.  Lymphedema may result from a birth defect or obstruction of the lymph glands or vessels later in life, often from injury or surgery.

According to the SSA, lymphedema may fall under a musculoskeletal impairment instead of cardiac depending on what it is impeding the most. Determination of Social Security disability benefits for lymphedema will be based in part on your functionality. Social Security disability for cardiac problems

Cardiac Impairments

There are many other heart problems other than what we have discussed here such as hypertension (high blood pressure), congenital heart defects, cardiomyopathy, valvular disease and even heart transplants.  When looking at these other cardiac problems, the SSA will determine Social Security disability benefits based on how the disease affects other body systems as well as how it limits your ability to work or be gainfully employed. The SSA may use combinations of problems to determine your eligibility.

The exception is a heart transplant recipient who may be eligible to receive benefits for one year after receiving the transplant due to a high risk of the organ rejection and infection in the first year after a transplant. The reception of ongoing benefits will be determined after a year when the person's functionality, reactions to medications and overall health will be reassessed.


As with some other impairments, cardiovascular problems can be caused by multiple conditions. Each problem by itself may not be adequate for you to obtain Social Security disability benefits, but a combination of problems may be more than enough for you to receive your disability payments.

I'm Still Not Sure if I Qualify For Social Security Disability

If you are unsure if your injury, illness or pain allows you to qualify for disability insurance, the acclaimed Cochran Firm Disability Lawyers offers you a FREE consultation whereby your claim may be evaluated. If your case is accepted, our experienced Social Security disability lawyers can help you obtain the benefits you deserve through the Disability System. Under the Cochran Firm Disability Lawyers' Social Security disability program, you will not be charged unless we win your disability benefits for you.

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Social Security Disability List of Injuries and Illnesses

Musculoskeletal System
(back & joint pain, fractures, injuries, Carpal Tunnel)

Respiratory System
(lung diseases such as asthma, sleep apnea)

Digestive System
(gastrointestinal, liver, bowel, nutrition)

Hematological Disorders
(blood related problems)

Endocrine Disorders
(diabetes, pancreatitis)

(brain, stroke, seizures, Parkinson's, head injuries, migraines)

Malignant Neoplastic Diseases
(cancers & tumors)

Special Senses and Speech
(hearing, vision, vertigo)

Cardiovascular System
(heart attacks, chronic heart failure, blood clots)

Genitourinary Impairments
(kidney disease, dialysis)

Skin Disorders
(light sensitivity, burns)

Impairments that Affect Multiple Body Systems
(Down Syndrome)

Mental Disorders
(autism, anxiety, depression, eating disorders and more)

Immune System Disorders
(HIV, lupus, arthritis)


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Mr. Cochran began serving as the Assistant District Attorney of Los Angeles County in 1978. As the third ranking lawyer in the nation’s largest law office, he was responsible for over 600 lawyers.  in 1981 Mr. Cochran returned to private practice where he was retained for numerous landmark and high-profile cases including the murder trial of O.J. Simpson where Mr. Cochran proved himself to be a brilliant litigator.

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