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Aortic Valve Stenosis and SSA Disability Benefits

Aortic valve stenosis occurs when the aortic valve of the heart does not function or completely open, preventing the flow of blood out of the left lower chamber or ventricle chamber of the heart causing an insufficient flow of oxygenated blood to the rest of the body. Aortic valve stenosis can eventually cause the ventricle to enlarge eventually leading to congestive heart failure.

There are a variety of causes for this condition. It could be due to a congenital heart defect that you were born with such as a bicuspid valve, an infection which has damaged the valve or a calcium buildup on the aortic valve. Calcium buildup can be caused by high cholesterol, high blood pressure, smoking or diabetes.

Common Symptoms of Aortic Valve Stenosis

If you suffer from aortic stenosis you may experience a variety of debilitating symptoms including:

• Chest pain
• Tightness in your chest
• Dizziness
• Fainting
• Tired or fatigued
• Shortness of breath
• Arrhythmia
• Heart palpitations

Winning SSA Disability Benefits for Aortic Valve Stenosis

Claimants can win SSI or SSDI disability benefits either by meeting a listing on the Social Security Administration Listing of Impairments (also known as the Blue Book) or through a medical vocational allowance.

Meeting a Listing on the SSA Blue Book for Aortic Valve Stenosis

The Social Security Administration has several listings in their Listing of Impairments for serious heart conditions which are listed under Listing 4.00 Cardiovascular System. Sections under this listing include:

• 4.03 Chronic heart failure (systolic failure, diastolic failure)
• 4.04 Ischemic heart disease(myocardial ischemia)
• 4.05 Recurrent arrhythmias, symptomatic congenital heart disease(cyanotic or acyanotic)
• 4.09 Heart transplant
• 4.10 Aneurysm of aorta or major branches (atherosclerosis, cystic medial necrosis, Marfan syndrome, trauma)
• 4.11 Chronic venous insufficiency
• 4.12 Peripheral arterial disease.

The best thing to do is review each of these listings and determine if your condition may “meet or equal” a listing in severity. Your treating physician may be able to help evaluate these listings and provide guidance.

The Social Security Administration will review supporting medical evidence such as doctor’s notes, lab reports and tests. According to the SSA, to approve your claim they need, “detailed reports of history, physical examinations, laboratory studies, and any prescribed treatment and response to allow us to assess the severity and duration of your cardiovascular impairment. A longitudinal clinical record covering a period of not less than 3 months of observations and treatment is usually necessary, unless we can make a determination or decision based on the current evidence.”

Winning Disability Benefits for Aortic Valve Stenosis through a medical vocational allowance

The Social Security Administration uses a 5 step process called the sequential evaluation process to determine if you are disabled. If your condition does not meet or equal a listing you will have to prove that your heart condition, combined with your other medical conditions, functionally limits your ability to perform substantial gainful activity.

What does this mean? You must be able to show that you do not have enough residual functional capacity to perform previous work that you did in the past 15 years, your current job or any other job which is available in the national economy given your age, work history, medical condition, and educational level.

Winning through a medical vocational allowance will require you to get good medical information from your doctor which explains your medical condition and how it limits you or by having your doctor fill out a residual functional capacity form also called an RFC form which clearly lists work activities that you can no longer perform (ex. sit for more than 2 hours, stand for more than 2 hours, lift heavy weights, etc.)