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Coronary Artery Disease

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Coronary artery disease involves a narrowing of the coronary arteries that provide the heart with oxygen and blood. This disease may develop when cholesterol builds up and generates plaques such that the arteries are narrowed and blood flow to the heart is reduced. Clots can stop the flow altogether, creating significant health issues. Sometimes coronary artery disease results in a heart attack. If you have become disabled by coronary artery disease, you may be eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits. At Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck & Bertuca, our dedicated Chicago Social Security attorneys may be able to help.

Coronary Artery Disease

Coronary artery disease involves a build-up of plaque that hardens and narrows the arteries, making it difficult for blood and oxygen to flow to the heart. Blood flow may be stopped outright or severely constricted, resulting in shortness of breath, discomfort, or chest pain; sometimes the constriction results in a heart attack. The severity of these symptoms may affect your ability to work. In order to qualify for SSDI benefits, you’ll either need to meet the SSA’s listing requirements or show that your residual functional capacity has been reduced such that you can’t work in a job any longer.

SSA Listing

One way of obtaining SSDI benefits based on coronary artery disease is by showing that the disease meets Listing 4.04. The Social Security Administration (SSA) will look at your medical records along with other evidence in making this assessment.

Listing 4.04, which covers myocardial ischemia, is the listing relevant to getting SSDI benefits for coronary artery disease. In order to meet the listing, you need to possess certain symptoms due to myocardial ischemia, as described in 4.003-4.00E7, while following a regimen of prescribed treatment. These symptoms include silent ischemia; angina pectoris, which is chest discomfort; atypical angina, which is pain other than in the chest; anginal equivalent; and variant angina.

Additionally, you need to have one of these: abnormal imaging results, an abnormal stress test, or three separate ischemic episodes requiring revascularization inside a 12-month period. If performing an exercise stress test is dangerous for you, it is possible to use angiography or another form of medically accepted imaging that shows 50-70% narrowing of a coronary artery; additionally, the coronary artery disease needs to very seriously restrict your capacity for daily activity.

When determining cardiovascular impairment, the SSA requires sufficiently detailed history reports encompassing lab studies, physical exams, any prescribed treatment, and information regarding how you responded to treatment to permit an assessment of the severity and duration of the impairment. Usually it’s also necessary to have a longitudinal clinical record that covers at least three months of observations and treatments in order to assess how long and severe the impairment is; sometimes a determination can be made using current evidence. A knowledgeable SSDI lawyer can help you compile all the necessary information you need to submit in support of your claim.

Residual Functional Capacity

Even if you don’t meet the listing, you may be able to obtain benefits through the SSA’s evaluation of your residual functional capacity. An impairment can cause mental and physical restrictions on your ability to function in a work setting. Your residual functional capacity represents the most you can do on a regular and continuing basis in spite of limitations presented by a medical condition.

The SSA looks at whether the coronary artery disease limits or removes your ability to work. It will look at your ability to perform tasks needed for work such as standing, sitting, lifting, walking, pushing, pulling, and carrying. Once your residual functional capacity is assessed, there will be a determination as to whether you can perform your old job with restrictions. If you can’t, the next step is to look at whether you could perform other jobs given your work history, age, and education.

Consult an SSDI Attorney in Chicago

Most people rely on the income from their job to live. A disability can make it difficult or impossible to keep working. If you’ve become disabled from coronary artery disease in Chicago and need SSDI benefits, you can talk to the seasoned Social Security lawyers at Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck & Bertuca. We are available to represent disabled claimants in Champaign, Rockford, Quincy, and Aurora, as well as Kane, Cook, Adams, Winnebago, and Sangamon Counties. Contact us at 312-724-5846 or via our online form.