If you suffer from syncope, you may be eligible for Social Security disability. Syncope is a loss of consciousness that is brief. Often called fainting, syncope occurs when there is a decreased blood flow to the brain which causes the brain to get a limited supply of oxygen. A generally limited supply of oxygen to the entire body can also be a cause for syncope as well.
If you experience a sudden drop in your blood pressure that reduces both oxygen flow and blood flow, you can suffer syncope. It can also result from hunger, emotional stress, dehydration, fear, anxiety, drugs, or alcohol. Other causes of syncope can be an abnormal heart rhythm or obstructed blood flow.
There are several different kinds of syncope:
Syncope can produce a variety of symptoms, including dizziness, blacking out, light-headedness, feeling weak or unsteady upon standing or after movement, or drowsiness. Some people may experience irregular heartbeat or nausea. You may be able to avoid a syncopal event by lying down or sitting.
There are multiple treatments used to effectively treat syncope, with the treatment option dependent upon the cause of syncope. After your underlying cause of syncope has been determined, the right kind of treatment can be chosen for your situation. Various treatment options may include medication, wearing support garments to improve blood circulation and prevent a limited supply of blood to the brain, take extra care when moving positions, which means you should stand slowly.
In some situations, a pacemaker may be needed to control the heart rate if the syncope is caused by irregular heart rates. If syncope episodes continue to occur, it can be a serious problem. If syncope episodes limit your ability to work or render you unable to work, you may be eligible for Social Security disability benefits.
The Social Security Administration (SSA) administers the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program which provides monthly benefits to those who are disabled to work. In order to be eligible for benefits, you have to pay in enough taxes to the SSA and have earned sufficient credits.
The Costs of Treating Syncope
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), syncope can be expensive to diagnose as well as treat. Because there are several causes for syncope, it is important to determine the cause of fainting in order to derive an effective treatment plan.
With copays for doctor visits and prescriptions, as well as deductibles for tests and hospital visits, the average individual pays out about $1,500 per year for treatment of syncope. Because fainting can cause injuries, those suffering from uncontrolled syncope usually pay out more for medical costs every year.
The SSA Evaluation and Medical Qualifications
If syncopal episodes continue to occur, they can be dangerous and serious. If this is the case, you could be eligible for SSDI. If you suffer from syncopal episodes to the extent that you are limited in your ability to perform daily tasks or work, you may qualify for disability benefits. In some instances, you may have some dependents who are eligible for benefits if you are approved.
Inadequate cardiac output causes fainting. Because of that, the SSA evaluates syncope as a condition that is listed under the heading for Cardiovascular System in the medical guide, which is also called the Blue Book. The disability application process is very detailed, and the more documentation you are able to provide, the stronger your case.
In order to qualify for disability benefits, you have to prove the severity of your condition. You will need to provide medical records, treatment reports, physician notes, documentation of your limitations and symptoms, and test results that back up the severity of your condition and how it has limited your ability to work or engage in meaningful activity. Even with extensive reports and medical records, you must have suffered from syncopal episodes for a minimum of two years or expect to suffer from them at least two years.
Syncope is evaluated under Section 4.00 of the Blue Book, which relates to poor oxygen and blood flow, which are cardiac functions. You must show that you have regularly experienced fainting episodes for two years prior to applying. Syncope may also be associated with problems pertaining to the Central Nervous System, which falls under Section 11.00 Neurological System.
If you cannot meet the Blue Book guidelines for disability approval, you may still be approved using the medical-vocational allowance or limited functional capacity.
Meeting Disability Criteria with an RFC
If your syncope causes you to have limited functional capacity, and your age and educational background make it difficult to learn new job skills so you can switch professions, you may be eligible for SSDI. The SSA will use your documentation and records to conduct a residual functioning capacity (RFC) assessment, which will summarize the details based on your work history, education level, training, transferable skills, physical performance, medical problems, and age, so they can determine if you are able to perform sedentary, light, medium, or no work at all.
If this approach deems you unable to work, or only able to perform light work under circumstances that are complicated, you may be approved for Social Security disability benefits using a medical-vocational allowance. You should ask your physician to complete a detailed RFC about you to help with your case. This RFC will indicate any medical restrictions, such as how often you need to adjust positions, limitations on bending or lifting, and stretching or leaning can cause syncopal episodes.
Applying Specific Medical Tests to Your Case
There are several medical tests used to determine the cause of syncope. Your physician will use cardiac testing, neurological testing, blood tests, and more to determine how your problems are caused and the most effective ways to treat them.
Even if you provide plenty of documentation for your case, you may be asked to attend a medical evaluation that is paid for and scheduled by the SSA. This is for information purposes only and not for medical treatment. It is designed to confirm your condition and the symptoms you suffer along with how those impact your ability to work and function normally.