Heart conditions and cardiovascular diseases are some of the leading causes of disability in America. If your heart condition prevents you from working full-time or performing jobs that you used to do, then you may qualify for Social Security Disability benefits.


What is a Cardiovascular Impairment?


The Social Security Administration (SSA) defines a cardiovascular system impairment as a disorder that impacts proper functioning of the heart or the circulatory system. Your arteries, veins, capillaries, and the lymphatic drainage make up your circulatory system.


Heart disease is the primary cause of cardiovascular impairment. Usually a cardiovascular impairment results from one of the following common heart disease consequences:


  • Discomfort or pain caused by myocardial ischemia


  • Chronic heart failure


  • Chronic ventricular dysfunction.


  • Syncope or near syncope caused by inadequate cerebral perfusion, including an obstruction of blood flow or a disturbance in the heart’s rhythm


  • Central cyanosis caused by a shunt, reduced oxygen concentration in arterial blood, or pulmonary vascular disease.


Cardiovascular Diseases, Conditions, and Impairments Addressed in Listing 4.00


Section 4 of the SSA’s Blue Book explains how the SSA evaluates disability claims based on a cardiovascular system impairment.


This section, also called SSA Listing 4.00, is broken into nine subsections. The first subsection explains how the SSA evaluates cardiovascular impairments in general terms. The other eight subsections each deal with a particular type of cardiovascular condition, disease, or disorder, and provides the SSA guidelines on how to evaluate each.


Listing 4.00’s eight subsections and the criteria of obtaining SSD benefits for each are as follows:


  • Aneurysm of the Aorta or Major Branches. An aneurysm is the enlargement of an artery due to weakness in the artery wall. The SSA will find you disabled if disabled if appropriate medical imaging shows that you have an aortic dissection that is not controlled by prescribed treatment. It doesn’t matter what caused your aneurysm – atherosclerosis, Marfan syndrome, trauma, cystic medial necrosis, or any other cause.


  • Chronic heart failure. The SSA will find you meet the listing for chronic systolic or diastolic heart failure if you meet certain objective criteria while your condition is stable. You must also have one of the following conditions: multiple occurrences of heart failure in the same year requiring hospitalization, symptoms that limit your ability to work or complete an exercise test, or poor performance on an exercise tolerance test.


  • Chronic venous insufficiency. You have chronic venous insufficiency when the valves in your legs carrying blood do not work properly. This can lead to pain and swelling. The SSA will find you meet the listing for this condition if you have an obstruction of your deep venous system and at least one of the following: brawny edema involving 2/3 of your leg from the knee to the ankle or 1/3 of your ankle to your hip OR persistent ulcerations that fail to heal after three months of treatment.


  • Heart transplant. The SSA will consider you disabled for one year after a heart transplant. After a year has passed, it will evaluate your heart condition using one of the other subsections.


  • Ischemic heart disease. This is also called coronary artery disease, which is damage to the heart’s major blood vessels. To meet the SSA’s listing you must have objective diagnostic evidence showing you have coronary artery disease meeting specific angiographic guidelines, three distinct ischemic episodes requiring revascularization, or an exercise test that falls within the SSA’s guidelines for disability.


  • Peripheral arterial disease (PAD). Persons with peripheral arterial disease do not get enough blood flow to their legs because of narrowed arteries. This can cause pain and swelling in the legs. The SSA will look at your blood pressure ratios to determine if you meet the PAD listing.


  • Recurrent arrhythmias. An arrhythmia is an improper beating of the heart, either too fast or too slow. Some people have no symptoms. But others suffer from chest pain, syncope, dizziness, and feinting because of their arrhythmia. The SSA will find you disabled because of recurrent arrhythmias if the evidence shows your condition is irreversible and causes frequent syncope.


  • Symptomatic congenital heart disease. A congenital heart defect is a heart abnormality that develops before you’re born. The SSA will look at evidence from medical imaging or a heart catheter, as well as your oxygen saturation and hematocrit levels to determine if you meet the listing.


The SSA also evaluates the following heart conditions when determining whether you’re disabled:


  • Blood Clots
  • Chest Pain
  • Chronic Pulmonary Hypertension
  • Cor Pulmonale Secondary Chronic Pulmonary Hypertension
  • Heart Attack
  • Heart Failure
  • Heart Valve Disorder
  • High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)
  • Left Ventricular Assist Device
  • Marfan Syndrome
  • Mitral Valve Prolapse
  • Sinus Bradycardia
  • Syncope (Fainting/Blackout Spells)


You can also read the following articles for more information on how to prove you’re disabled because of your heart condition:



Contact Virginia Social Security Disability Lawyer Corey Pollard to Receive Benefits for Cardiovascular Impairments and Heart Disease


Unable to work because of your heart condition? You’ve come to the right place. Richmond disability lawyer and SSD attorney Norfolk VA Corey Pollard can help you get approved. Call or e-mail us today for a free consultation.