Congestive heart failure occurs when your heart is unable to sufficiently pump your blood throughout your body, leading to fluid build-up in your arms, legs, gastrointestinal tract, liver and lungs. Although congestive heart failure can become very severe, its likely your symptoms have developed slowly, perhaps initially affecting you most negatively when you attempt to do physical exercise.
Recently on our disability forum a user asked, I have congestive heart failure, and I was denied SSDI benefits by the SSA. I have a hearing scheduled before the administrative law judge, and I am wondering what I need to do to win my disability case?
Winning SSDI for congestive heart failure
Although many claimants who have congestive heart failure are approved for SSDI benefits, if the SSA denied your SSDI claim it is likely because they determined that you have the ability to either work your current job or retrain for new work.
This does not mean, however, that the SSA does not believe that you are sick or that your condition is not real. It simply means that despite common symptoms of weakness, faintness, coughing, loss of appetite, weight gain, shortness of breath, or swollen feet and ankles, they believe you still can retrain for less strenuous work, perhaps a sedentary job.
For example, if you are less than 55 years of age and sufficiently educated and you have performed work which required a significant time walking and standing, they may accept that this is now too difficult, but you could retrain for new work. For example, may be you could now be a staff assistant, security guard, or Wal-Mart greeter.
Administrative Law Judge what will they decide?
If your case has been denied at the initial application and reconsideration level you may request a hearing before an administrative law judge (ALJ). The ALJ will hear testimony from the disability claimant, the medical expert (optional), and a jobs expert (optional). They will also review medical evidence from the claimants medical file. Following the hearing, the ALJ will make a disability determination.
To improve your chances of winning benefits for heart failure at the administrative hearing level its critical to understand what you need to prove. For example, if the SSA initially denied you claim for SSDI because they believed you could retrain for other work, its imperative that you provide evidence about your limitations to perform sedentary work.
Evidence needed to prove your case for heart failure
Evidence which you can present at the hearing to improve your case can include additional medical treatment that strengthens your claim or any evidence that suggests your condition has worsened over the last months or years.
Many claimants also benefit from a medical statement from their physician. This can include a residual functional assessment form in which your treating physician has clearly outlined your limitations to work, including your inability to sit, stand, reach, bend, push or pull.
If you can prove that you do not have the ability to retrain for any type of sedentary work, given the symptoms and severity of your heart failure, the ALJ will award you SSDI benefits.
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