Congestive Heart Failure Stages and Social Security Disability

Mar 31, 2011 No Comments by

This article discusses congestive heart failure stages and your Social Security Disability case. While the Social Security Administration does not use stages to determine the severity of heart failure, the medical community does.

One method of staging heart failure is the New York Heart Association Functional Classification System. This system measures the levels of heart failure by the level of activity that can be sustained by the individual. The list of the four stages is found here: http://www.abouthf.org/questions_stages.htm

The Social Security Administration’s requirements for being found disabled based on Congestive Heart Failure are found here: 4.02 Chronic heart failure via 4.00-Cardiovascular-Adult. As you will notice, the Social Security Administration looks for things that seem quite different from the New York Heart Classification System (NYHA): systolic/diastolic failure, ejection fraction of less than 30% during a period of stability, fluid retention, ventricular contractions, cerebral perfusion and so on.

Even though the Social Security Administration and the medical profession use different ways to assess congestive heart failure, the end result is the same. The NYHA stages are used to determine where your doctor feels you are at and what you can do.  If your doctor assesses that you are in Stage Four then he has determined that you are “unable to carry out any physical activity without discomfort.”

While the ultimate decision about your disability can not be made by your doctor, it is definitely helpful to have medical records documenting your doctor’s findings. In addition, it must also be documented that you are taking your medications as prescribed,  any symptoms that you continue to experience despite being compliant with treatment and any testing that the doctor has performed on you.

Congestive Heart Failure Stages are used by your doctor to evaluate how profound your symptoms are and in turn the Social Security Administration will look to what your doctor says about your symptoms when evaluating your social security disability case.

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About the author

Kim obtained her undergraduate degree from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and her Law Degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is a strong advocate for the rights of the disabled and worked in the past for the North Carolina Department of Justice. She is a member of the North Carolina Advocates for Justice and the National Organization of Social Security Claimants Representatives. Kim is admitted to practice in the Eastern and Middle Districts of the United States District Court.