How to Qualify for Disability with Hypertension

hypertension

According to the American Heart Association, nearly half of Americans more than 20 years old have high blood pressure. This is also known as hypertension, and if you don’t have it under control, it can cause serious health problems. If you have hypertension, we’ll explain what the Social Security Administration looks for on your disability application below.



Is Hypertension Itself a Qualifying Disability?

The SSA blue book explains how they’ll evaluate disability claims for heart-related conditions, like arrhythmia, stroke and cardiac arrest. That page specifically says hypertension alone is not enough to make you eligible for disability. However, high blood pressure often leads to other health problems and symptoms that count as a disability when you combine them. Be sure to list all other high blood pressure-related symptoms and health problems you have on your claim forms.

Specifically, uncontrolled high blood pressure increases your risk for lasting damage to different parts of your body, including:

  • Stroke – Hypertension weakens blood vessels in your brain over time until they clog up or burst. When this happens, it’s called a stroke. The longer your brain goes without enough oxygen, the more damage it does to you. You may have trouble remembering things, following directions, speaking clearly, etc.
  • Heart attack – weak or damaged arteries can lower the blood supply to your heart. When this leads some of your heart muscle tissue to die, it’s called a myocardial infarction or heart attack. Once that happens, it can make eight-hour shifts where you stand, walk or carry heavy items much harder to do.
  • Vision loss – Increased pressure over time can strain and weaken the blood vessels in your eyes. This means your sight gradually worsens, which may stop you from doing certain jobs (i.e., air traffic controllers).
  • Kidney disease or failure – Without enough oxygen, your kidneys can’t effectively filter your blood. You may feel weak, sick to your stomach, bloated, confused or dehydrated and even need to go on dialysis. Symptoms like these make working physical jobs almost impossible for you until you get them back under control.

If the above don’t apply to you, list your other doctor-diagnosed medical issues on your disability claim.

How the SSA Determines Who Qualifies for Disability Benefits

Just because your doctor says you’re disabled doesn’t mean you automatically qualify for Social Security disability. Instead, the SSA looks at things like:

  • How old are you? If you’re between 50 and 64 years old when you apply, it’s much easier to get approved for SSD benefits. But if you’re younger than 18 or older than 65, you’re not eligible for Social Security disability.
  • Do you have a college degree? Having a bachelor’s degree or higher makes disability approval much harder. That’s because the SSA expects you to find another good-paying job based on your educational background alone.
  • Have you worked recently enough and in the right jobs to qualify for SSD? You need to earn 40 work credits in order to qualify for Social Security disability. If you stop working for more than five years, then your disability insurance coverage through the federal government ends automatically. Your Social Security taxes taken out of every paycheck you earn pay those policy premiums each month. If your employer doesn’t withhold FICA taxes (also known as Social Security taxes), then you still might not qualify. Teachers, federal employees and service-industry workers (bartender, waiter) usually don’t pay FICA taxes out of every paycheck.
  • Are you already getting some Social Security benefits? Many people decide to draw early retirement at 62. If you do this, then you cannot qualify for SSD payments. That’s because SSD lets you tap into regular Social Security before reaching your full retirement age (FRA). In fact, disability is the only way to receive your maximum Social Security payment before your FRA.

Tips to Pass the Disability Medical Requirements with Hypertension

The SSA has its own internal definition of the word “disability,” and it’s not what most people think. Your doctor saying you’re disabled is not enough to qualify for benefits. Instead, the medical examiner wants to know:

  • Is your hypertension bad enough for you to stop working at least 12 months? Having blood pressure at or above 140/90 usually isn’t enough. You must show how hypertension specifically prevents you from working for one year or longer. Listing all your other health issues from hypertension helps support your case.
  • How often does your doctor treat your hypertension and other conditions? If you haven’t seen a doctor in at least 90 days, it may hurt your case. Routine doctor’s visits and prescription medication for hypertension will strengthen your disability claim.
  • Can you find other work to do with the limitations you have now that pays a similar wage? For example: If you cannot work construction full-time with your symptoms, would your company give you an office job instead? Is another employer in your area looking to hire someone with your educational background and work history?

In our experience, the best way to prove hypertension makes you unable to work is to show, not tell. You want to show the SSA’s doctor that you cannot do things like pick up a dropped pencil without help. Or you can’t stand up for a full eight hours, but instead must alternate sitting and standing during work shifts. Your doctor may also expect you to prop your feet up every few hours to relieve swelling due to hypertension. These are all good reasons for the SSA to approve your disability claim for high blood pressure.

You May Qualify for Legal Assistance

Right now, every Social Security office is closed because of coronavirus. The SSA warns people not to call unless it’s absolutely necessary. When you do call, expect to stay on hold at least 90 minutes before speaking to anyone. Considering everything else going on, what’s the best way to apply for disability right now? Having an attorney file your disability claim makes you 2x more likely to get benefits on your first try.

Every Social Security lawyer works on contingency. In other words, you can get a free, no-obligation consultation and get confidential answers to your claim questions. Once you complete your online evaluation, a local disability advocate will call you within one business day. You don’t have to meet in person or put your health at risk to get this legal assistance. Best of all, if the government doesn’t award you disability benefits, you pay $0 for claim help. And if you win, you’ll only pay a small, one-time fee.

Ready to see if you may qualify? Click the button below to start your free online benefits evaluation now!

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