What is Sick Sinus Syndrome?
Sick sinus or sinus node dysfunction is a heart condition where the sinus node does not work properly, causing problems with the rhythm of the heart (arrhythmias). With this condition the communication between the four chambers of the heart is interrupted causing the heart to slow (bradycardia) or speed up (tachycardia) or have long pauses in the heart rhythms. Some claimants may experience all three patterns.
Sick sinus syndrome is not very prevalent and many claimants can install a pacemaker to eliminate the issues caused by sick sinus syndrome. If a SSDI or SSI claimant does not seek proper treatment or if they are not a candidate for a pacemaker they may experience the following common sick sinus symptoms:
- Extreme fatigue
- Chest pain
- Loss of memory
- Heart palpitations
- Difficulty sleeping
- Slow pulse
Sick sinus syndrome is generally caused by scar tissue, medications, heart disease, a claimant’s age or a deteriorating heart muscle, but because many diseases or conditions can cause similar symptoms it is important to seek medical attention if you are experiencing any of the conditions listed above.
Winning SSDI or SSI for Sick Sinus Syndrome
Claimants can win SSDI or SSI benefits either by having a condition which meets or equals a listing in the SSA Listing of Impairment or by proving through a medical vocational allowance that they cannot work.
Having a diagnosis which is listed on the SSA Listing of Impairments will not be enough to win SSI or SSDI. Claimants must also have proof that their condition is as severe as the listing.
Meeting a Listing on the SSA Listing of Impairments for Sick Sinus Syndrome
Sick sinus syndrome could be evaluated under Listing 4.00 Cardiovascular System, section 4.05 Recurrent arrhythmias. Under this listing the SSA states that the arrhythmias cannot be caused by any condition which is reversible.
The claimants must also have tried the appropriate prescribed treatment and have proof that the treatment did not work. Documentation, according to the SSA, should include “resting or ambulatory (Holter) electrocardiography or other appropriate medically acceptable testing, coincident with the occurrence of syncope or near syncope.”
Winning SSI or SSDI benefits for Sick Sinus Syndrome through a medical vocational allowance
Some claimants will not meet the listing identified above but may have severe symptoms which may not allow them to work their current job, their previous jobs or retrain for new work. This will be especially true for claimants who are older (over age 55) or claimants who have other severe disabling health conditions which may lower the claimant’s ability to perform work.
If your condition does not meet a listing you may need to talk to a disability lawyer for more information about how to win your case.
What type of evidence do I need to prove disability?
Many SSI or SSDI claimants believe that if their doctor states they are disabled that this will ensure that they will win SSI or SSDI. This may not be enough. What your medical files should contain is clear evidence that you cannot work. If your doctor is willing to complete a residual functional capacity form or list specific work activities that you cannot perform this can really improve your case.
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