High blood pressure, or hyper tension, affects millions of Americans. While the basic mechanisms of the condition function the same throughout the population, the specific symptoms individuals experience can vary greatly. For some individuals signs and symptoms may be mild or moderate. However for others the symptoms may be severe and limit the things that you are able to do. If you are suffering from severe impairments due to your high blood pressure condition you may be able to qualify for disability benefits.
If you or a loved one is concerned about disability benefit eligibility, a Fayetteville AR disability lawyer at the Law Practice of Ken Kieklak may be able to help. For more than 20 years Ken Kieklak has fought on behalf of people in northwest Arkansas. To schedule a free and confidential injury consultation call us at (479) 316-0438 today.
Let’s explore how the Social Security Administration will assess your claim for Social Security Disability benefits.
What types of Benefits can I apply for?
While the differences between Social Security Disability (SSD) and Supplemental Security income (SSI) were discussed in previous posts, a brief refresher of their similarities and differences can be helpful. To begin with their similarities, both programs are administer by the Social Security Administration and both programs pay cash benefits. What this means is that you can use your Social Security benefits for your particular needs and preferences.
However there are several major differences between the programs. While SSD is an insurance program that requires sufficient payments into the system, SSI does not. Due to this difference, the SSD program is funded by Social Security taxes, but SSI is not. SSI is funded by general taxes.
What kinds of Evidence will I need?
The Social Security Administration will review your longitudinal medical records and other materials for evidence of your condition and its effects on your daily life. Therefore, while it is essential that you have been diagnosed with some serious impairment, such as high blood pressure, a simple diagnosis alone will not qualify you for benefits. Rather, your medical records, testimony and other materials must reveal serious impairments as a result of your condition. To increase the likelihood that your longitudinal medical history will be sufficient, the following should be included with your benefits application:
- A history of blood pressure tests and their results.
- Your doctor’s notes of reported symptoms and observed signs
- Tests for secondary conditions that may be caused by high blood pressure.
- Reports or testimony regarding the steps you have taken to control your condition. The SSA often looks to see if the condition has responded to treatment or if it has continued despite treatment.
- Any limitations that medical tests have revealed
Medical records can make up a significant part of the picture, but often they must be supplemented with other evidence. Employment records, reports from close family and friends, therapy records and more can all play a role in proving the impairments caused by your severe condition.
Blood Pressure-Related Conditions Recognized by Social Security
High blood pressure may indicate a number of very serious conditions that have been listed by the SSA as qualifying for benefits. Some of these listed conditions include:
- 4.02 Chronic heart failure
- 4.04 Ischemic heart disease
- 4.06 Symptomatic congenital heart disease
- 4.12 Peripheral arterial disease
Unfortunately, problems caused by high blood pressure may not be limited to the circulatory system. Many other bodily functions and symptoms can be disrupted by high blood pressure. High blood pressure is also common in those with kidney conditions or impairments. Kidney conditions recognized by the Social Security Administration include the impairment of renal function and nephrotic syndrome.
However, even if you do not have a condition that is specifically recognized by the SSA you still may be able to qualify for benefits if you can prove that your condition is medically equal to a listed condition. Proving equivalence requires a thorough understanding of the particular listed condition’s requirements and the individual’s own medical history.
Such technical and detail-oriented advocacy can often be better handled by an experienced Social Security benefits lawyer. Because an experienced lawyer understands the system and the types of things that administrative law judges or claims examiners look for, they can often present a case in an easily understood manner. When facts and medical diagnoses are technical and numerous, clarity can make all the difference in having your benefits application approved or denied.
Ken Kieklak of the Law Practice of Ken Kieklak has assisted numerous Arkansans in applying for Social Security benefits. For your free and confidential benefits consultation, contact us online or call (479) 316-0438.