Social Security Disability Claims With OCD

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is characterized as an anxiety disorder that causes undesired and repeated thoughts, feelings, images, and obsessions which can only be relieved by performing compulsive mental acts or behaviors. A person with OCD engages in these specific behaviors to reduce or eliminate the anxiety produced by their obsessive thoughts. However, doing so only provides momentary relief. If a person does refuse to complete their obsessive behavior, they could experience an overwhelming amount of anxiety. The range of someone’s OCD can be mild to severe, and if left untreated, their functional ability at work, school, and even at home could be adversely affected.

Creating An Claim with OCD

The Social Security Administration’s Blue Book lists OCD in section 12.06, which focuses on anxiety-involved disorders. The SSA’s manual of considered, potentially disabling conditions is known as the Blue Book. Its purpose is to provide strict criteria for disabling conditions which the Disability Determination Services (DDS) use when reviewing Social Security disability claims.

The manual details that anxiety-involved disorders need your application and medical records to prove that you experience general and chronic anxiety that’s accompanied by at least three of the following symptoms:


  • Vigilance
  • Physical tension
  • Pronounced apprehension
  • Uncontrolled hyperactivity

Your medical records must also show that you experience recurrent:

  • irrational fears
  • severe panic attacks
  • obsessions and compulsions
  • flashbacks or disruptive memories of trauma

The anxiety disorders listing also requires that your medical documentation and Social Security Disability application prove that you are unable to properly function away from your home or that your symptoms result in you exhibiting at least two of the following limitations:

  • Severe restrictions in performing everyday activities, which the SSA considers Activities of Daily Living (ADL)
  • Pronounced difficulty in social interactions or functioning
  • Difficulty concentrating, maintaining focus, or completing activities or tasks a reasonable pace
  • Extended and recurrent periods where symptoms get worse, which are considered during which “Episodes of Decompensation”

Regardless if you found that your OCD doesn’t meet the SSA’s requirements, you could still qualify for SSD benefits if you’re able to prove that your OCD is serious enough that it prevents you from finding and keeping a job. If the SSA decides that you deserve benefits but do not meet the Blue Book’s criteria for anxiety-involved disorders, then you’ll get what’s known as a “Medical-Vocational Allowance”, which is given when someone struggles with the condition that qualifies them for SSD benefits, but doesn’t necessarily meet the pre-conceived listing for a certain condition.

The most important part of your disability claim is that your medical records verify that your claim for SSD benefits accurately depicts the severity of your disabling condition. Your medical documentation must detail and clearly reveal that:

  • You’ve been formally diagnosed with OCD by a qualified medical professional.
  • You receive regular treatment from a qualified medical professional, preferably a psychiatrist.
  • You experience the primary symptoms of anxiety-related disorders.
  • You experience recurrent periods of decompensation and other limitations as a result of your condition.

Notes or statements from your psychiatrist and any other physicians who treat you need to be added to your claim and should accurately describe your symptoms. Make sure that your documentation illustrates the frequency of your symptoms, how severe they are, and the duration of them. You also need to include any and all treatments or medications you’ve received or are currently taking. Finally, make sure to detailing illustrate that your OCD symptoms continually prevent you from completing work even after you’ve been given treatment.

You Don’t Need to Do This Alone

The Social Security Administration is infamously known to be incredibly particular and harsh with their claim decisions, with the majority of applications being denied during their first review. This is because it is extremely difficult to describe pain or other subjective symptoms such as psychological or psychiatric disorders like OCD. You’ll need strong and detailed medical records as well as other documentation if you want to be successful in proving your claim. You’ll need the help of your psychiatrist and other doctors to gather the necessary documentation. It’s highly recommended you speak with a professional Social Security disability attorney if you wish to learn how to strengthen your claim and have the best chance of getting your SSD benefits claim approved by the SSA.

Social Security Disability and Heart Transplants

Heart Transplant – Condition and Symptoms

Even after decades of incredible progression in medical technology and treatment methods, there are still conditions that even the most advanced modern medicine can’t cure. Specifically, severely damaged or diseased internal organs. Thankfully, there is still hope. While the notion would have been preposterous a hundred years ago, today it is possible for a healthy heart to be extracted from someone with a deadly injury and implanted into the chest cavity of another human whose heart is no longer able to maintain its crucial life-saving functions.

Heart transplants are considered when all other medical options have failed, and the patient’s heart is unable to properly pump sufficient blood to the body. This disabling condition is termed as heart failure and can be caused by several conditions. They include but are not limited to:

  • Cardiomyopathy (Weakening of the heart muscle)
  • Congenital Heart Defect
  • Arterial Disease
  • Valvular Heart Disease
  • Failure of a previous heart transplant
  • Viral infection of the heart muscle

Since the number of individuals who require a heart transplant is significantly larger than the amount of potential donor hearts available, transplant centers typically have a waiting list. If a viable donor heart arises, the next patient on the list will have the opportunity to have the transplant if they act quickly. Patients need to respond promptly since the donor heart can’t stay viable for a transplant forever, they only have a few hours. During the procedure, the blood is temporarily circulated through the body thanks to a mechanical pump. Currently, a mechanical heart that properly works for long-term use is not available.

Once the procedure is over, the patient receiving the heart will be on hospital stay for the next two weeks before extensive cardiac rehabilitation. In addition, the patient will be evaluated for signals of rejection. Rejection is a potentially life-threatening problem after a heart transplant. It occurs when the patient’s body views the new heart as a foreign object that must be eliminated, so the immune system begins an assault on the new heart. The patient will be given drugs meant to lower their immune system for the rest of their lives, making them extremely vulnerable to infections.

Applying for Social Security Disability with a Heart Transplant Diagnosis

The Social Security Administration (SSA) recognizes a heart transplant in their impairment listing manual, or Blue Book, as one of the several transplants that meet the administration’s strict definition of disabling conditions. Typically, most conditions that are listed in the manual are followed by highly specific diagnostic criteria that are required to be met before qualifying for monthly payments. However, a heart transplant is a rare exception; it’s just listed as a qualifying condition. The reason for this is likely due to the fact that the health of someone requiring a heart transplant is sufficiently disabling which would certainly qualify them for disability benefits.

Under the information in the impairment manual, the patient receiving a heart transplant is to be considered disabled for 12 months after the date of the procedure. Afterward, the SSA will evaluate the case based on any residual impact from the procedure.

As mentioned previously, the patient receiving a heart transplant or another organ will be highly susceptible to infections due to the immune-system suppressing medication. While these common infections wouldn’t be considered serious to those with healthy immune systems, they could quickly become life-threatening to those with a compromised immune system. Infections need to be carefully monitored and treated aggressively because of this.

Your Disability Claim Post Heart Transplant

If your health was negatively impacted to the extent that you require a heart transplant, you’re probably a candidate for Social Security Disability benefits. Even with the certainty that your condition qualifies you for disability benefits, it’s never a bad idea to get in contact with an experienced Social Security Disability lawyer.

The Social Security Administration denies around 60% of initial applications for Social Security disability benefits. If you were denied, there’s not much you can do besides submitting an appeal and request reasoning for why your application was denied. Due to the dramatically large volume of cases submitted to the SSA and the Disability Determination Service (DDS), the appeal process may take months, even years, before reaching a solution.

To make it even worse, several denials are due to paperwork errors or omissions instead of someone not having a disabling condition. Working together with your medical professionals and a professional Social Security Disability attorney can help verify if your application and its support documents are sufficiently completed before being submitted, lowering the chance of your claim being denied.

If you or a loved one are have undergone a heart transplant, you do not need to add on the stress of dealing with the complexities of submitting or appealing your Social Security Disability claim. Contact an experienced Social Security Disability lawyer today to have your case reviewed and determine whether your case has a good chance of being successfully accepted by the SSA.


Types of Transplants That Qualify for Social Security Disability

Millions of individuals across the globe are dreading with the anticipation of an extremely important opportunity; the chance to live. Due to severe injuries and diseases, critical damage to vital organs in the human body forces people to need a transplant to continue living. 1 Organ donor has the ability to save the lives of up to 50 people with their donation.

Due to the number of people needing an organ drastically exceeding the number of viable donor organs available, most transplant centers have a waiting list. Sadly, this waitlist is extensive, and as a result, some people wait years with crippling disabilities and life-threatening conditions. When someone is given a new organ, it genuinely is the start of a new life for these patients. An organ transplant is extremely taxing for the body, which goes farther than just the surgery. The body’s immune system’s primary function is to recognize and reject foreign substances that invade the body, a defense against germs, diseases, and practically any threat to your livelihood. Unfortunately, if this response is activated after an organ transplant, the results could be life-threatening as the body needs this new organ to function properly. Organ donors are closely evaluated to determine a potential match with recipients to reduce the chance of organ rejection. Even if the organ donor and recipient have the same blood type and share other factors, the body could still reject the new organ. If this occurs, the person will be given drugs to suppress their immune system for the rest of their lives, making them highly susceptible to infections, which may be life-threatening.

When someone undergoes surgery for an organ transplant, it may take months and sometimes years before recovery is completed, as the body needs to adjust to the new organ and time to determine of their previous life-threatening condition improves. The Social Security Administration helps those receiving an organ since they cannot complete normal activities and keep their jobs. The following organ transplants are recognized by the SSA in the manual of impairments or Blue Book as a condition that automatically qualifies someone for disability for at least 12 months after the date of the surgery:

  • Heart transplant
  • Lung transplant
  • Kidney transplant
  • Liver transplant
  • Bone marrow/stem cell transplant

Recipients of an organ transplant qualify for SSDI benefits for the 12 months after they receive their new organ. Once 12 months are up, their case will be evaluated, and the SSA will determine if their condition still meets the criteria of disabled. Organ transplants are a major life moment for millions of people who face the end of their lives without it.

Even though undergoing an organ transplant certainly qualifies you for SSDI benefits, it never hurts to speak with an experienced Social Security Disability attorney to make sure your medical records and other accompanying documents accurately reflect your disabling condition.

Qualifying for Social Security Disability from Peripheral Artery Disease

Social Security Disability for Peripheral Artery Disease

If your recently diagnosed peripheral arterial disease is preventing you from completing the necessary tasks of your job, you could qualify to receive Social Security disability benefits. PAD is a medical condition that causes narrowing of the arteries of the extremities, typically the legs. As a result, victims have limited blood flow to the tissues around the affected area.

The heart is responsible for pumping blood to the tissues in the body which contains the necessary nutrients and oxygen, but PAD prevents this from functioning properly. The arteries are too narrow, so blood is unable to reach the extremities at a sufficient volume. The decreased blood flow is exacerbated by exercise and motion due to the increased strain causing muscles and tissues to require more oxygen to complete a task.

The muscles do not receive sufficient oxygen if there is constricted blood flow in an artery. The most common symptom that PAD sufferers experience is pain in the extremities, specifically the calves, known as intermittent claudication. It can differ in severity from mild to excruciating. Rest often reduces the pain.

Local numbness, weakness, one extremities being colder than the other, chronic sores, and a weak or absent pulse in the leg are all common symptoms sufferers experience.  Some symptoms could also be signs of an oncoming heart attack or stroke, in which case require emergency medical assistance. There is also the possibility of limb amputation being necessary due to ischemia or absence of blood flow.

The Cost of Treating PAD

Peripheral Arterial Disease is a severe, chronic disorder. The National Centers for Biotechnology Information estimates the average person diagnosed with PAD collects medical expenses that vary from $2,000 to $20,000 during their lifetime. Naturally, if they underwent amputation or experienced a stroke from PAD, their bills are substantially higher.

Those with insurance pay copays and coinsurance that range from 5 percent to 50 percent of the total medical bills. Those without insurance can expect to pay more. It is a prevalent disease that creates seriously problematic health issues to those diagnosed with the condition.

Getting Medical Approval for Disability

The Social Security Administration acknowledges Peripheral Artery Disease as a disabling condition under certain situations. The SSA follows procedures from a medical guide to evaluate your disability. This is known as the Blue Book, which lists PAD under the cardiovascular system due to it being a cardiovascular condition.  The SSA requires serious disability or impairment preventing you from completing any form of work even despite receiving disease treatment. The exact requirements for those with PAD are listed in Section 4.0, Cardiovascular – Adult.

You need to prove that you have been accurately diagnosed with PAD by a licensed medical professional. There also needs to be evidence of concurrent treatment for the disease, not just diagnosis. Evidence of your response to treatments is also necessary. You need to have undergone at least 3 months of recorded treatment before applying for disability.

Typically, the SSA needs more extended treatment to see if you are going to respond to before your claim is reviewed. If your PAD is not stable, or if you have changed treatments without recorded results, you could be seeing a waiting period before SSA looks at your case.

To qualify for disability benefits with PAD, you need to have imaging documentation from a Doppler or angiography, suffer pain in the legs, and have one of the following:

  • A resting ABI of less than 0.5.
  • A 50% decrease in systolic blood pressure at the ankles with exercise that needs at least 10 minutes or longer for recovery.
  • A resting toe systolic blood pressure of less than 30 mm HG.
  • Resting toe or brachial index of less than 0.4

Gaining Disability Benefits Using an RFC

RFC stands for residual functional capacity; it’s a form that your doctor fills out which can help increase your likelihood of approval for disability benefits if you do not meet the conditions listed in the Blue Book. The form should be filled completely listing any limitations or restrictions that your condition has caused. This would look like a note stating you need to be repositioned every 45 minutes due to the reduced blood flow and accompanying leg cramps, which will prevent you from completing necessary work tasks.

You could suffer from blood clots in your extremities due to PAD, which will prevent you from long periods of sitting due to the raised likeliness of another thrombosis event. If PAD forces you to elevate your legs and feet often to alleviate excruciating pain, that needs to be obviously noted. It should also state how much weight you’re able to lift, if you cannot bend, and how PAD affects your mobility, such as the requirement of crutches to walk or inability to walk long distances.

An RFC is considered as a component of the medical-vocational allowance, which takes into account your job history, transferable skills, education, and age. If your condition prevents you from returning to your occupation, Disability Determination Services will look to see if you are able to complete other work such as occupations that have fewer duties like a sedentary job. Once you’ve been determined to be unable to work at all full-time, you will be approved to receive monthly disability benefits.

Applying for Disability Benefits

The Social Security disability benefits process is complex and simply frustrating. The SSA needs detailed medical documentation, accurate tests reflecting your blood pressure in your extremities, advanced scans proving the accuracy of your diagnosis of PAD, records that depict how PAD affects your mobility and pain experience, in addition to documented responses of treatment. You could potentially be denied several times and need to file appeals. The last step in that situation would be a hearing with an administrative law judge.

You may start the process online at, over the phone at 1-800-772-1213 or in person at your nearest Social Security office. A disability attorney can significantly increase your chances of being approved for benefits.