Does POTS Syndrome Qualify For SSA Disability Benefits?
Postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome, or POTS, is a chronic condition that can negatively affect the patient's quality of life. Under this condition, a patient experiences unstable heart rate and blood pressure levels. It is caused by inappropriate functioning of the autonomic nervous system.
A person affected with POTS can experience frequent fainting spells, headaches, dizziness, etc. It mostly affects a person when they change positions suddenly. For example, when a POTS patient tries to sit up from a lying position or stand up from a sitting position, they might experience light headedness and dizziness that leads to fainting.
Common Symptoms of POTS
A POTS patient can frequently experience light headedness, fainting, increased heart rate, and low blood pressure. The following symptoms are also regularly treated as POTS symptoms:
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Difficulty in sleeping
- Tremors or shaking
- Excessive sweat
- Heart palpitations
How Does Pots Qualify As a Disability Under the SSA?
The Social Security Administration (SSA) offers financial benefits through two programs called the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) programs. The SSA publishes a rule book called the Blue Book which lists all the diseases treated as a disability by the SSA. Unfortunately, POTS is not listed as a stand alone disability in the Blue Book. This means that a diagnosis of POTS is not considered a disability by the SSA by itself.
POTS Syndrome And Disability can, however, be found when your disease symptoms are so severe that they leave you unable to perform daily activities and maintain employment. As mentioned above, people suffering from POTS often experience dizziness and can faint. These symptoms may directly affect your ability to work safely and may invite danger to other employees who work with you.
Here are a few examples of when a person with POTS can be granted disability benefits
When their medical condition directly affects their job- The nature of your work may demand that you be on your feet for long hours. In such cases, you may not be able to continue working because your medical condition directly affects your ability to perform this type of work.
When they become a threat to the organization- POTS symptoms can distract from assigned work, which can lead to accidents. An organization may not want unfortunate accidents to happen on their premises due to someone’s inability to work properly. Therefore, a person suffering from POTS may be laid off from their job and unable to find new employment due to POTS-related symptoms.
When he is not qualified to undertake another job- When someone applies for SSDI benefits, the SSA evaluates whether the applicant is capable of performing other jobs that favor his health conditions. He may have to undergo a Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) assessment requested by SSA to prove his ability to continue employment. If the person is not physically capable of performing other job duties due to POTS symptoms, he might be granted SSDI benefits. The ability to cope with a new environment, learn new skills, and age are also considered as part of the RFC assessment.
When POTS lead to some other disability- While POTS alone may not qualify as a disability under the SSA Blue Book, disabling symptoms can still be assessed when deciding whether to grant benefits. If POTS leads to several other health issues that cumulatively restricts a person from working, they can still establish entitlement to disability benefits. On the other hand, if POTS syndrome is responsible for a significant disability that affects the quality of work performed, then the applicant may also be granted disability benefits for the POTS-related condition.
How To Get Disability Benefits for POTS
You can visit your local Lee County Social Security Office to apply for SSA benefits. Consider consulting with a Social Security Disability lawyer before you apply. Ensure that your lawyer has considerable experience in handling similar POTS applications beforehand. POTS may not be considered a disability independently. Therefore, preparing your application with supporting health issues or disabilities can be tricky. An experienced disability lawyer can help you obtain Social Security benefits if you need special consideration to qualify for POTS.