Do I Qualify For Social Security Disability Benefits If I Have Deep Vein Thrombosis?
The Social Security Administration (SSA) doesn’t always make it easy for those with deep vein thrombosis or its complications to get the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income benefits they deserve. Many claims are denied because SSA says:
(1) Your deep vein thrombosis or its complications won’t prevent you from working at least 12 months,
(2) Your deep vein thrombosis or its complications aren’t severe,
(3) Your deep vein thrombosis is uncontrolled because you haven’t followed your physician’s prescribed treatment,
(4) Your deep vein thrombosis complications don’t meet the requirements of, or is the equivalent of, a Medical Listing,
(5) You can return to the lightest job you held in the 15 years before you became disabled, or
(6) 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 deep vein thrombosis or its complications are severe enough to make you eligible for Social Security Disability benefits, but Nancy Cavey has successfully represented many SSA applicants with deep vein thrombosis or its complications. She works to overcome the claims denial by working closely with you and your physician by showing that you:
- Meet the requirements for a disability listing for chronic deep vein thrombosis or its complications, 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 Deep Vein Thrombosis?
Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a blood clot deep in the veins that can result in a pulmonary embolism or stroke. A blood clot can block the flow of blood, causing redness and swelling. If the blood clot breaks loose it can become stuck in the heart, lungs or brain, causing an embolism. An embolism or stroke can make it difficult, if not impossible, to work.
Deep Vein Thrombosis and The Listing Of Impairments
Deep vein thrombosis is generally not disabling unless there are complications or if it’s accompanied by another disabling medical condition.
One complication of deep vein thrombosis is chronic venous insufficiency (CVI), which occurs when the DVT damages the veins in your legs so the blood in your legs leaks backwards. CVI can cause:
- Ulcers in your leg, and
- Difficulty walking, standing and sitting.
Listing 4.11 requires that you have a diagnosis of CVI and one of the following:
- Severe swelling of the leg caused by fluid retention that causes thickening and discoloration of the tissue, or
- Cramping, burning or itching of the legs, scaling of the skin on the lower legs, or wounds that are reoccurring or non-healing, despite being treated for at least three months.
If your complications from deep vein thrombosis fall under or are equal to a listing, you might be approved for benefits at Step 3 of the Five-Step Sequential Evaluation.
Your medical records must establish that you meet every element of the Listing to be considered disabling. SSA will review your medical records and look for the following:
- A diagnosis of DVT or CVI,
- Lab reports, x-rays, CT scans, Doppler tests, and vascular ultrasounds of the lower legs,
- Treatment by a cardiologist,
- The results of the treatment,
- Your complaints of pain, redness, swelling, and
- Difficulty using your lower legs, including the need to elevate your legs.
If you have deep vein thrombosis and another medical impairment, SSA is required to consider the combined effects of your impairments when determining if your condition is equal to a listing or when doing your RFC analysis at Steps 4 and 5.
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. Because the listing requirements are difficult to meet, SSA finds that most disability applicants don’t meet a Listing.
When Your Deep Vein Thrombosis or Its Complications Make It Impossible to Work
If your deep vein thrombosis and its complications, including chronic venous insufficiency, don’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 deep vein thrombosis.
Residual Functional Capacity For Deep Vein Thrombosis or Its Complications
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 RFC forms that explain:
- How far you can walk,
- How long you can stand and sit at one time and for an eight-hour work day,
- How much and how often you can lift, stoop, squat, bend during an eight-hour work day,
- Whether you have to alternate sitting and standing,
- Whether you need to elevate your legs and, if so, how often and how long,
- Whether you have problems with balance because of lack of swelling in your legs,
- Whether you have problems with your feet that would make it difficult to operate machinery,
- 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 deep vein thrombosis or other applicable RFC forms. 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 for deep vein thrombosis or its complications 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 For Deep Vein Thrombosis or Its Complications?
Deep vein thrombosis and its complications can interfere not only with your daily activities but 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 you make mistakes that can result in a delay or even a denial of your benefits;
- challenge a wrongful denial of your Social Security disability application or Request for Reconsideration;
- file a Request 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 experienced Social Security Disability attorney Nancy Cavey.
Contact Social Security Disability Attorney Nancy L. Cavey, Who Can Help You Regardless of Where You Live in Florida
Deep vein thrombosis or chronic venous insufficiency can make it difficult, if not impossible, 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. Call today for a free consultation at 727-894-3188.