If you have been diagnosed with peripheral vascular disease or peripheral arterial disease (PVD or PAD), you may be wondering if filing for disability benefits is the right choice for you. Read on for information on how the Social Security Administration evaluates claims for disability based on peripheral vascular disease and what you can expect.
Peripheral artery disease happens when an artery outside of your heart or brain narrows or becomes blocked. This blockage interrupts your circulation. Diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and smoking are all risk factors for developing PVD. The most common symptom of PVD is claudication. Claudication is caused by ischemia. Ischemia can also cause critical limb ischemia.
Claudication is pain or cramping in a lower limb due to inadequate blood flow to the muscles. Clients describe severe leg pain that usually stops with rest but begins again as soon as activity is attempted (intermittent). Swelling in the lower extremity is also common. If you have PVD, you should also be tested for coronary artery disease.
Treatment for PVD can include lifestyle modification, exercise, medications that help blood flow, angioplasty (stenting, ballooning, shaving or laser) or vascular surgery. You may need a combination of the above and some treatments may need to be repeated (e.g. stenting). The goal of treatment is to control the symptoms and stop the progression of the disease. Left unchecked, PVD can cause amputation, heart attack, stroke or severe pain with exertion. Treatment is necessary for your health.
Is PAD a disability?
SSA’s Listing of Impairments discusses PAD under Listing 4.11 Chronic venous insufficiency or 4.12 Peripheral Arterial Disease. In order to meet 4.11, you need to have extensive brawny edema or ulceration that has not healed after three months of treatment. To meet 4.12, the systolic blood pressure in your ankle or big toe has to be affected. If you meet Listing 4.11 or 4.12, I can only imagine the excruciating pain that you are in. The point is that your ability to work will be affected long before you meet either of these listings.
Even if you do not meet the above listings, you may be found eligible for disability benefits by the Social Security Administration based on your functional limitations. If your PVD symptoms are preventing you from working, you should be receiving medical care, following your doctor’s advice and taking your medications. If you are unable to work because of your PVD, file a claim for Social Security Disability Benefits as soon as possible and call the Bishop Law Firm. We want to help!