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Cardiovascular Disease: Heart Arrhythmias And Disability

If you are attempting to obtain Social Security Disability Benefits based on a cardiovascular condition, you might be interested to know how the SSA evaluates arrhythmias. The SSA defines a heart arrhythmia as a change or alteration of the normal or regular beat of the heart. The heart might skip a beat, might beat quickly (aka tachycardia), or it might beat slowly (called bradycardia). 

The identification of an arrhythmia is done by where they occur in the heart and what happens to the rhythm of the heart when the arrhythmia occurs. If the arrhythmia occurs in the lower chamber of the heart, this is called a ventricular arrhythmia. These are the most serious because they are caused by heart disease. Those that occur in the upper chamber of the heart (or cardiac atria) are called atrial or supraventricular arrhythmias. Generally, the SSA is concerned with an uncontrolled arrhythmia that causes a lack of consciousness.

The SSA will evaluate arrhythmias that are recurrent and not controlled by medication, pacemaker, or implanted cardiac defibrillator if there is a DOCUMENTED association between the losing of consciousness and the arrhythmia. That is, the arrhythmia MUST be established as the cause of the loss of consciousness. This documentation can come from Holter monitoring, tilt-table testing with a concurrent ECF, or an ETT.

IF the arrhythmia is controlled by a defibrillator, pacemaker, or medication, then the SSA will require the appropriate documentation for the underlying heart disease in order to establish disability.