The Social Security Administration (SSA) sets forth specific criteria when qualifying applicants for benefits. With regard to heart disease specifically, the medical evidence must be consistent with SSAs classification within the following criteria: Coronary artery disease, demonstrated by angiography (obtained independent of Social Security disability evaluation) or other appropriate medically acceptable imaging, and in the absence of a timely exercise tolerance test or a timely normal drug-induced stress test, an MC, preferably one experienced in the care of patients with cardiovascular disease, has concluded that performance of exercise tolerance testing would present a significant risk to the individual, with both 1 and 2:
1. Angiographic evidence showing: a. 50 percent or more narrowing of a nonbypassed left main coronary artery; or b. 70 percent or more narrowing of another nonbypassed coronary artery; or c. 50 percent or more narrowing involving a long (greater than 1 cm) segment of a nonbypassed coronary artery; or d. 50 percent or more narrowing of at least two nonbypassed coronary arteries; or e. 70 percent or more narrowing of a bypass graft vessel; and
2. Resulting in very serious limitations in the ability to independently initiate, sustain, or complete activities of daily living.
These criteria are addressed in much more detail by the Social Security Administration (SSA). However, keep in mind that the heart disease symptoms which meet the criteria for receipt of benefits may develop as a result of the disease process and/or the medications prescribed and used, or the residual effects of surgical procedures used to treat the disease.
The medical evidence supporting ones argument that he or she may meet these criteria, and therefore qualify for disability benefits, is crucial to obtaining a favorable finding. Physicians are considered experts in their field of practice, and their diagnosis, treatment and prognosis concerning a persons condition are key to determining if someone who suffers with heart disease qualifies for Social Security Disability benefits.