(3) There is other work you can do in the mythical national economy based on your age, education, transferable skills and your residual functional capacity.
Not all cases of coronary artery disease are severe enough to make you eligible for Social Security Disability benefits, but Nancy Cavey has successfully represented many SSA applicants with coronary artery disease. She works to overcome the claims denial by working closely with you and your physician to show that you:
- Meet the requirements for a disability listing, or
- Proving that your limitations are too great for you to work at your old job or any other job in the national economy in view of your age, education and transferable work skills.
She offers a free initial consultation and welcomes the opportunity to speak with you about your Social Security disability claim.
What Is Coronary Artery Disease?
The coronary arteries supply your heart with oxygen and nutrients. Fatty deposits can build up inside these arteries and block them. It’s like having a blockage in your pipes.
What Are The Symptoms of Coronary Artery Disease?
The symptoms can include:
- Shortness of breath,
- Chest pain,
- Chest tightness or pressure, and
Your symptoms should be confirmed by objective medical testing. A functional capacity evaluation may provide objective evidence of how your coronary artery disease affects your ability to perform physical tasks.
When Your Coronary Artery Disease Meets A Listing
SSA evaluates coronary heart disease under the ischemic heart disease Listing 4.04 of the “Listing of Impairments.” If your coronary artery disease meets or equals a Listing, your Social Security disability benefits will be awarded at Step 3 of the Five-Step Sequential Evaluation.
Listing 4.04 requires that you have symptoms due to “myocardial ischemia,” such as one of the following:
- Angina pectoris, which is chest discomfort caused by activity or emotions and quickly resolved with rest,
- Atypical angina, which is pain or discomfort located in the inner left arm, jaw, neck, back and upper abdomen,
- Anginal equivalent, which is shortness of breath on exertion without complaints of chest pain or discomfort,
- Variant angina, which is episodes of angina at rest due to spasm of a coronary artery as demonstrated by transient ST segment elevation or electrocardiograph,
- Silent ischemia, which is the occurrence of myocardial ischemia or myocardial infarction without any pain or other symptoms.
You must also have one of the following:
- Abnormal stress testing as defined by Listing 4.04.
- Ischemic episodes, or
- Abnormal imaging results.
If you don’t meet or equal a listing, SSA then will determine your entitlement to benefits based on medical and vocational criteria at Steps 4 and 5.
When Your Coronary Artery Disease Makes It Impossible to Work
If your coronary artery disease doesn’t meet a listing, you will have to prove that you:
- Can’t return to the lightest job you held in the 15 years before you became disabled (PRW), and
- There isn’t any other work you can do in the mythical national economy based on your age, education, transferable skills and your residual functional capacity (RFC).
SSA or, ultimately an Administrative Law Judge, will answer those questions by determining your residual functional capacity. Your RFC is what you can do despite your coronary artery disease.
However, before determining your RFC, the SSA will look for at least three months of medical records documenting the clinical course of your coronary artery disease. These medical records should include your history, physical examination results, laboratory tests, treatment and the results of ECG and exercise tolerance testing.
Residual Functional Capacity For Coronary Artery Disease
The SSA will review your medical records at the Initial Application and Reconsideration stage of the claims process and determine your functional capacity to perform sedentary, light, medium and heavy work.
SSA medical consultants often opine that a Social Security Disability applicant can do light and sedentary work, and that will result in a claims denial. The lower your RFC the more likely that you can’t return to the lightest job you held in the last 15 years or perform other work. SSA doesn’t tell applicants or physicians about the existence and importance of properly completed coronary artery disease RFC forms that will explain how your chest pain, shortness of breath or fatigue impacts:
- How far you can walk,
- How long you can stand and sit at one time and for an eight-hour day,
- How much and how often you can lift, stoop, squat, bend during an eight-hour day,
- Whether you have to take naps because of fatigue or break up chores,
- Whether you have side effects of medication such as headaches, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, or need to use the restroom frequently,
- Whether you have to elevate your legs and, if so, for how long and how often,
- Whether you have difficulty concentrating,
- Whether you have difficulty staying on task,
- Whether you have good days and bad days and how many days per month you would miss from work, and
- Whether you have psychological problems like depression or anxiety that would interfere with your ability to work.
This is not an exhaustive list of all of the questions on a coronary artery disease or mental impairment RFC form. But you can see that having an explanation of what you can do physically, cognitively and emotionally is key to winning your case.
Many SSA cases are lost because the applicant did not obtain an RFC or the right RFC form, or because their treating physician didn’t properly complete the RFC form. That is one of the many reasons you should have an experienced Social Security attorney like Nancy L. Cavey represent you in your claim.
How Your Residual Functional Capacity Is Used At A Social Security Hearing
Many claims are denied both at the Initial Application and Request For Reconsideration stages of the claims process.
At the hearing stage, the Administrative Law Judge will determine your RFC and give hypotheticals to the vocational evaluator (VE) who will testify at your hearing. The judge will ask the VE to take into consideration your RFC, as determined by the judge, your age, education and prior work experience in determining:
- Whether you can return to the lightest job you held in the last 15 years,
- Whether there is other work you can do or could learn to do.
It is crucial that you are represented at a hearing to make sure the right questions are asked of the VE.
How Do I Get The Social Security Disability Benefits I Deserve?
Coronary artery disease can interfere with your daily activities and with your ability to work. If you no longer can work or your doctor has told you to apply for Social Security disability, you should hire Nancy Cavey to help you:
- File your initial Social Security Disability application. The application process is confusing and designed so that you make mistakes that can result in a delay or even a denial of your benefits.
- Appeal a wrongful denial of your Social Security disability application or Request for Reconsideration.
- File an Application for Hearing and represent you at the hearing with the Administrative Law Judge who will decide if you get benefits. She will have your physician, if possible, complete the right RFC(s), prepare you for the hearing, prepare a hearing brief, and be prepared to cross-examine the VE.
The SSA is in the business of denying claims and will use any reason to deny your benefits. The odds of getting your Social Security benefits are greater when you are represented by an experienced Social Security Disability attorney like Ms. Cavey.
Contact Social Security Disability Attorney Nancy L. Cavey, Who Can Help You Regardless of Where You Live in Florida
Coronary artery disease can rob you of your ability to work. You owe it to yourself and your family to get help today! Ms. Cavey can explain the Five-Step Sequential Evaluation process used in every claim, the claims process and how to get your disability benefits for coronary artery disease. Call today for a free consultation at 727-894-3188.