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Can I Get Disability Benefits for Cardiomyopathy? (Page Three of Four)

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Meeting Listing 4.04 for Ischemic Heart Disease

Ischemic heart disease is a disease in which the heart does not receive enough oxygen to function normally. It is most common in men, smokers, and those with high cholesterol, diabetes, or high blood pressure. Ischemic heart disease is extremely common. In fact, it is the leading cause of death in the United States. It is also one of the most commonly cited medical conditions in applications for Social Security disability benefits.

There are three parts to the Social Security Administration’s Listing 4.04 for ischemic heart disease. Satisfying any of the three parts is enough to meet the listing, but you will also need to show symptoms of myocardial ischemia, such as typical angina pectoris, atypical angina, anginal equivalent, variant angina, or silent ischemia.

Listing 4.04A

To meet Part A of Listing 4.04, you will need to show certain abnormalities in an exercise test at a workload equivalent to 5 METs or less. This listing is very long and technical; a New York Social Security disability attorney can help you determine whether you meet this requirement based on your medical records and whether additional testing is needed.

Listing 4.04B

Part B requires you to have three separate ischemic episodes within a one-year period. Each episode must require revascularization by angioplasty or bypass surgery. If surgery cannot be done because of another medical condition, or if the vessel is not suitable for revascularization, an episode may still qualify. (In such a case, the SSA would say that you are “not amenable” to surgery.)

Listing 4.04C

Part C of the listing requires angiographic evidence of coronary artery disease showing narrowing of one or more non-bypassed coronary arteries. Specifically, you must show:

  • 50 percent narrowing of the left main artery;
  • 50 percent narrowing of a one-centimeter segment of any coronary artery;
  • 70 percent narrowing of any coronary artery;
  • 70 percent narrowing of a bypass graft vessel; or
  • 50 percent narrowing of two coronary arteries.

Coronary artery disease is by far the most common cause of ischemic heart disease. To be allowed to qualify under Part C of the listing, however, a medical consultant must determine that exercise stress testing would present a danger to you.

You must also show functional loss, which can be caused by symptoms like fatigue, palpitation, shortness of breath, or angina. A New York Social Security disability lawyer can help you come up with specific examples of limitations you face, which the SSA finds more persuasive than general statements such as, “I cannot work.”

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