Doctor holding a small heart

Heart disease remains a leading cause of health concerns and disability in the United States. If a severe heart condition prevents you from working, you might be wondering if you qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI). The process can be complex, and determining eligibility for heart conditions depends on multiple factors.

Which Heart Conditions Might Qualify for Disability Benefits?

The Social Security Administration (SSA) uses a comprehensive list of impairments, often referred to as the “Blue Book,” to assess disability claims. Several heart conditions fall under this list and can potentially qualify for benefits. Here are some of the most common, along with specific symptoms highlighted in the Blue Book:

woman holding a heart model
  • Chronic Heart Failure—The SSA evaluates heart failure under several Blue Book listings. Key qualifying symptoms include fatigue, inability to tolerate standing or walking for even short distances, persistent shortness of breath even while at rest, and recurrent, life-threatening episodes of fluid buildup.
  • Ischemic Heart Disease—Chest pain (angina) is a major symptom considered. For a disability listing, this pain must persist despite treatment. Severe complications like recurrent heart attacks and limitations on exertion might also contribute to potential eligibility.
  • Heart Transplant—Those who’ve undergone heart transplants often face an adjustment period with recurring complications. Potential listing qualifications include episodes of organ rejection, arrhythmias, and persistent side effects impacting daily functioning.
  • Arrhythmias—Irregular heartbeats are assessed based on their frequency and severity. If episodes create severe dizziness, loss of consciousness (syncope), or require specialized interventions (like an implanted pacemaker), they could contribute to a qualifying disability.
  • Other Less Common, but Qualifying, Conditions—Conditions like congenital heart defects, cardiomyopathy, and chronic venous insufficiency in its severe form may also qualify. Each diagnosis has specific criteria in the Blue Book and typically requires symptoms causing major limitations in daily activities.

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The Blue Book outlines very specific requirements and symptom severity needs. This blog aims to provide an overview. To explore the full list of potential heart impairments and their individual listing criteria, the official SSA site at provides a robust search. Always remember, having medical evidence to support the presence of any listed symptoms is crucial in a disability claim.

How the SSA Evaluates Heart-Based Disability Claims

The SSA doesn’t just look at your diagnosis. They focus primarily on the severity of your impairment and its effect on your ability to work. To meet the medical criteria for heart-related disability, you’ll likely need to provide comprehensive medical evidence in the form of:

  • Diagnostic Tests—Reports from ECGs, echocardiograms, heart catheterizations, or stress tests that establish the nature of your condition and its severity.
  • Doctor’s Documentation—Your physician’s notes detailing symptoms, any resulting physical restrictions, and treatment plans. Any limitations regarding walking, standing, lifting, and work-related activity should be explicitly stated.
  • Other Supporting Evidence—Hospitalization records, medication lists, and other information regarding your health management.

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Beyond Medical Eligibility: The SSA’s Work Test

Meeting the medical requirements is only the first step. To qualify for SSDI/SSI, the SSA also assesses your ability to sustain any type of work in a consistent manner. If they determine you are capable of earning above a specific income level each month (known as “substantial gainful activity”), benefits get denied.

Read More: How Long Does Disability Reconsideration Take?

Seeking Legal Advice: Tabak Law

Navigating the world of Social Security disability can be a stressful maze. For those facing the challenges of serious heart disease, having proper legal support is crucial. That’s where Tabak Law’s expertise comes in. Specializing in SSDI and VA benefits, they have deep knowledge of complex requirements and how to present your medical evidence compellingly. If you’re struggling with a disability claim or a denial, schedule a free case review to have an experienced advocate stand by your side.

Nothing posted on this website is intended, nor should be construed, as legal advice. Blog postings and site content are available for general education purposes only.

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