Social Security Disability Definitions
Social Security Disability and SSI Overview
The Requirements for Disability
Social Security Disability and SSI Applications
Tips and Advice for Disability Claims
How long does Disability take?
Common Mistakes after Receiving a Disability Denial
Disability Denials and Filing Appeals
Social Security Mental Disability Benefits
Disability Benefits offered through Social Security
Benefits through SSI disability
Disability Benefits for Children
Disability Qualifications and How to Qualify
Social Security Disability and Working
Winning your Disability Benefits
Social Security Back Pay and the disability award notice
Disability Lawyers and Hiring an Attorney
Social Security Disability SSI List of Conditions
What is considered a Disabling condition by Social Security?
Social Security Disability SSI and Medical Evidence
Filing for Disability Benefits
Eligibility for Disability Benefits
SSDRC authored by Tim Moore
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Facts about Congenital Heart Defects and Filing for Disability
How to prove you are disabled
and win disability benefits
1. Congenital heart disease is actually a defect of the heart muscle and is present at birth. There are a variety of abnormalities that can fall under the broad spectrum of congenital heart defects.
2. Some heart defects are obvious soon after birth. Other heart defects may not show symptoms until the age of three or later. The more serious types of defects show up earlier in a child's life.
3. Signs that a newborn may have a serious heart defect include pale, gray or blue skin color, swelling (especially in the legs, abdomen or around the eyes), shortness of breath and poor weight gain.
4. Signs that an older child may have a heart defect are experiencing shortness of breath or tiring easily during activity, fluid in the heart or lungs, and swelling of extremities (hands and feet).
5. Of all birth defects, heart defects are both the most common and the main cause of death. However, medical advancements have resulted in a higher survival rate and now more adults are living with congenital heart disease.
6. It is unknown exactly what causes some children to experience problems with heart development that results in a defect. There are, however, some risk factors that have been determined, including conditions like rubella and diabetes, medications like lithium (for bipolar disorder), and alcohol use during pregnancy. It is also apparent that genes play a role, since some genes have been identified for heart development. Genetic conditions such as Down syndrome also increase the likelihood of a congenital heart defect.
7. Some heart defects require minimal treatment or no treatment at all. Others may require significant medical procedures such as open heart surgery or even a heart transplant. Some children may have to have multiple procedures throughout their lives to treat their heart defect.
8. Regardless of successful treatment for a congenital heart defect, adults with the condition should be aware of increased risk for heart problems later in life.
Can you qualify for disability benefits with this condition?
Whether or not you qualify for disability and, as a result, are approved for disability benefits will depend entirely on the information obtained from your medical records. This includes whatever statements may have been obtained from your treating physician (a doctor who has a history of treating your condition and is, therefore, qualified to comment as to your condition and prognosis).
It will also depend on the information obtained from your vocational, or work, history if you are an adult, or academic records if you are a minor-age child. The important thing to keep in mind is that the social security administration does not award benefits based on simply having a condition, but, instead, will base an approval or denial on the extent to which a condition causes functional limitations. Functional limitations can be great enough to make work activity not possible (or, for a child, make it impossible to engage in age-appropriate activities).
Why are so many disability cases lost at the disability application and reconsideration appeal levels?
Speaking as a former Disability Claims Examiner, I can state that there are several reasons:
1) Social Security makes no attempt to obtain a statement from a claimant's treating physician. By contrast, at the hearing level, a claimant and his or her disability attorney will generally obtain and present this type of statement to a judge;
2) Prior to the hearing level, a claimant will not have the opportunity to explain how their condition limits them, nor will their attorney or representative have the opportunity to make a presentation based on the evidence of the case. At the hearing level, of course, this is exactly what happens. And a number of disability representatives will also take such steps even earlier, at the reconsideration appeal level;
3) Disability judges, unlike disability examiners who decides cases at the first two levels of the system, can make independent decisions without being overturned by immediate supervisors--which happens frequently.
Return to: Social Security Disability Resource Center, or read answers to Questions
Information on the following topics can be found here: Social Security Disability Questions
Social Security Disability SSI decisions | The Disability Decision Process and What gets taken into Consideration | Getting Denied for Disability Benefits | Questions about Social Security Disability Approvals and Being Approved | Social Security Disability Hearings | Social Security Medical Examinations | Social Security SSI Doctors | Social Security Disability Representation | Social Security Disability SSI Reviews