Qualifying for Disability Benefits in Arkansas with a Circulatory System Impairment

When people think of diseases and conditions that would create a severe impairment or injury that would necessitate an individual to stop working, they often think of particularly severe accidents or medical events. That is, people typically consider events like a violent car accident, a stroke, a heart attack, or other catastrophic events before they would consider a condition with a gradual onset like a circulatory condition. Fortunately, a violent or catastrophic medical event in not a requirement to receive SSD benefits. Rather, to qualify, one must be able to meet the non-medical program requirements and have a disability or injury that is severe and excepted to persist for more than 12 months or result in death.

There are a broad array of conditions that are caused by poor circulation. Some of these conditions include Reynaud’s phenomenon, peripheral artery disease, venous insufficiency, and acrocyanosis. Fayetteville AR disability lawyer Ken Kieklak is dedicated to assisting hard-working Arkansans who have been forced to stop working due to a severe injury or medical impairment.

How can I qualify with a circulatory condition?

To qualify with any severe injury or impairment you first must be able to meet the non-medical program requirements. One of these non-medical program requirements is that the claimant must have a sufficient work history to qualify. In general, the older the worker the greater the number of work credits that are required. Each year a worker can earn up to four work credits. The work credit test is actually two tests: an overall cumulative amount of credits and a recent work history test.  Other non-medical program requirements includes that the individual is not working and he or she has not exceeded the maximum possible earnings threshold, known as substantial gainful activity (SGA).

The 5- Step Sequential Determination Process and Your Circulatory Impairment

If you can meet the nonmedical program requirements, the Social Security Administration will determine if your condition qualifies for benefits. Step 2 f the process is the first time your medical condition is considered. At Step 2, a claimant must be able to show that his or her injury is severe. A severe injury is one that causes significant limitations. A non-severe injury will cause only minor or temporary restrictions in activity. Only severe injuries or impairments are compensable.

At the third step, your severe injury is compared to what the SSA terms listed conditions. Listed conditions are injuries and impairments that the SSA considers to be so severe that the claimant will qualify at Step 3. If you have a listed condition and can prove its existence through objective medical tests, data, and reports from close associates or if you condition is medically or functionally equivalent, you can qualify for benefits without proceeding through Steps 4 and 5. Potentially related Listed conditions include:

  • Heart and circulatory issues –Many cardiovascular issues are included and addressed in the listings. Heart failure (Listing 4.02), coronary artery disease (Listing 4.04), irregular heartbeat (Listing 4.05), and vascular disease (Listing 4.12) are all circulatory system-related listed conditions.
  • Amputation of an arm, leg, finger or toe (Listing 1.05) – In a worst-case scenario, severe circulatory problems can require the amputation or loss of a limb. The loss of an arm, leg or other body part can make work difficult or nearly impossible to complete in a commercial setting.
  • Skin lesions and persistent infections (Listing 8.04) – circulatory problems can cause restricted blood flow that impairs with the healing process. In other instances it can lead to chronic infections. This listing requires that the condition has persisted for at least 3 months and that it has not been controlled by treatment.

If you do not qualify at Step 3, you may still qualify. At Step 4 of the process the claims examiner will determine what is known as your residual functional capacity (RFC). Put simply, RFC simply means the things you are able to do despite your severe injury or impairment. At Step 4, your RFC will be used to determine if you can perform past work. If you cannot perform past work, at Step 5 it will be determined if there is alternate work that you would be able to perform.  Your education, training, age and other characteristics are considered in whether alternate work is available. If it is determined that there is no alternate work that you could perform, then you will be awarded SSD benefits for your circulatory system impairment.

Disability Attorney Ken Kieklak Can Help

For more than 20 years, the Law Practice of Ken Kieklak has fought for those hard-working Arkansans who have suffered injury or developed a severe condition that no longer allows them to work. To schedule a free and confidential legal consultation call the Law Practice of Ken Kieklak at (479) 316-0438 or contact us online.