Heart disease is the number one killer of women and men in the United States. Your blood cholesterol level can be a significant factor contributing to your chances of getting heart disease. Having high blood cholesterol is one of the major risk factors for heart disease. Each year, more than a million Americans have heart attacks, and about a half million people die from heart disease.
If you have high cholesterol you might wonder if you are entitled to receive Social Security Disability. In order to qualify for Social Security Disability, your condition has to be specifically listed under the SSA’s Listed Conditions. However, while high cholesterol may not qualify you for Social Security Disability, a benefits applicant may also be able to qualify through what is known as a medical-vocational allowance.
For more than 20 years Ken Kieklak has helped people who have suffered injuries or developed illnesses apply for Social Security benefits. Ken takes a compassionate approach to your medical issues and understands the proof that the Social Security Administration is looking for. Since he always strives to submit all relevant and available medical evidence the first time, this may increase your chances of approval earlier in the process. To schedule a free, confidential, and no-obligation consultation with an experienced Fayetteville AR disability lawyer call (479) 316-0438 today or contact us online.
Applying for Social Security Disability Benefits for High Cholesterol
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) notes that high cholesterol can contribute to heart disease, heart attacks, stroke, and other serious and life-threatening conditions. Indeed high cholesterol is a serious medical issue that you should work closely with your doctor on. According to the CDC, more than 73 million Americans have high cholesterol and therefore have double the risk of developing heart disease. These risks are particularly prevalent in Arkansas where heart disease is the leading cause of death according to the 2012 Arkansas Heart Disease and Stroke Report.
Despite the risks that having high cholesterol poses, having high cholesterol alone does not meet the standards set forth to receive Social Security Disability benefits. However, even though you may not be able to get benefits for your high cholesterol, you may qualify by meeting the Social Security Administration’s (SSA’s) listing for a related health condition. You may be able to qualify for SSA benefits if you are able to demonstrate with medical records that your high cholesterol and other medical conditions prevent you from working and being gainfully employed. Whether you meet a disability listing or must qualify for benefits through additional reviews of your overall limitations, Social Security disability can provide ongoing income, allowing you to pay bills and cover everyday living expenses.
Medically Qualifying for Disability through the Blue Book Listing
The SSA maintains a list of all of the individual impairments that can qualify you to receive disability benefits. The SSA maintains this list in what is known as the Blue Book. This comprehensive guide not only outlines recognized disabilities but also provides a list of all of the documents and medical tests that you will need to gather if you want to receive disability benefits. As mentioned above, high cholesterol is not listed among the conditions in the Blue Book, however, you may still qualify for disability payments by meeting the criteria for one of the SSA’s vascular or heart disease listings. Some of these include:
- Chronic venous insufficiency (4.11) – if your high cholesterol severely disrupts the blood flow to your hips, legs, knees, or ankles, then the SSA may use this listing to review your claim.
- Peripheral artery disease (4.12) – if you experience symptoms of high cholesterol and plaque deposits in the veins and arteries that supply blood to your arms, legs, hands, or feet, then your application for benefits may be reviewed under this listing.
- Ischemic heart disease (4.04) – if your high cholesterol has lead to the development of complications with the primary arteries to and from your heart, then the SSA will utilize this disability listing for your claim.
If you’re unable to match one of these listings, there is an additional process that may entitle you to receive payments. The SSA may review your high cholesterol claim under its guidelines for hyperlipidemia, which is a condition that causes abnormally high lipid or lipoprotein levels in the blood. Although there is also no listing for hyperlipidemia, the SSA reviews claim for this condition by looking at the areas of the body that are most severely affected.
Medically Qualifying for Disability through an RFC Analysis
To get approved for benefits without satisfying a Blue Book standard, you must go through additional eligibility reviews, including what is known as a “residual functional capacity” (RFC) analysis. The SSA will look at your “activities of daily living” during an RFC and will determine how your medical condition limits your performance of your daily activities. The SSA will look at many factors when they are determining how your daily activities are affected. Some of these include:
- Preparing food
- Caring for your children
- Changing clothes,
- Bathing, and
- Taking care of your home,
- Running errands, and
- Getting back and forth to doctor appointments.
To begin this process you will receive forms from the SSA that will ask for detailed information about your daily activities and what limitations you experience. These forms will also be sent to your primary care physician. What you fill out on these forms is crucial to the SSA and will heavily influence if you are granted benefits or not. If the SSA finds that you cannot work in any job, then you’ll be granted disability benefits.
How to Apply for Benefits with High Cholesterol
You may be entitled to Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), Supplemental Security Income (SSI), or both.
- You can apply for SSI at your local SSA office
- For SSDI, you can apply online, or at the local office.
- Whether you apply for SSI, SSDI, or both, you will need to provide information regarding your:
- Financial situation, including employment income, bank accounts, assets, and any other benefits you receive from state, federal, or private sources
- Contact information and work history, education, and job training records
- Healthcare providers, medical history, and your complete medical records, which the SSA can obtain directly from your doctors, hospitals, and others, with your consent
- When reviewing your medical records, the SSA will look for specific details. The medical tests, test results, and other documentation required depend on disability listing under which you may qualify.
With a claim related to high cholesterol issues, however, you must generally provide the following:
- A detailed report from your doctor that explicitly lists and documents all of your symptoms and complications, the treatments they proscribe, and your functional limitations.
- Diagnostic test results and clinical exam notes, documenting the effects of your high cholesterol, like high blood pressure or low or decreased blood flow to certain areas of the body.
- Imaging results, which may include MRIs or CT scans with contrast, documenting the buildup of plaque in your blood vessels causing narrowing or blockage of veins or arteries.
- Reports from any surgical or laser procedures you’ve had performed to address vascular issues.
Your doctor can help you understand the SSA’s Blue Book listings and required documentation. He or she can also assist by ensuring your medical records contain the types of tests and other diagnostic details the SSA needs in order to accurately evaluate your eligibility for disability benefits.
Trust a Fayetteville, Arkansas Social Security Disability Attorney
For more than 20 years, Ken Kieklak, Attorney at Law has fought for hard-working north Arkansans who have had to stop work due to a serious impairment. Ken understands the difficulties that can come with stopping work. He is happy to listen first to your concerns and goals. After listening he is happy to clearly and concisely explain a potential course of action available to you and how Ken Kieklak may be able to help. To schedule a free and confidential initial consultation with a Fayetteville social security disability lawyer, call (479) 316-0438 or contact us online today.