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Is POTS a Disability?

Yes, Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS) can be regarded as a disability. However, because there could be several different causes for this disability, claiming Social Security Disability or SSDI benefits with the Social Security Administration (SSA) or qualifying for long-term disability insurance benefits based on a diagnosis of POTS becomes extremely complicated. 

POTS Disability Benefits

What is POTS?

Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS) is a chronic illness/condition that leads to an abnormal increase in heart rate when standing up. This Syndrome is a highly complex and poorly understood illness involving autonomic dysfunction. People with POTS often experience symptoms like dizziness, feeling faint, fatigue, and heart palpitations. Although it commonly affects young women, it can occur in individuals of any age or gender.

The exact cause of POTS remains unknown, but it is believed to be linked to issues in the autonomic nervous system, abnormalities in blood volume, and difficulties in regulating blood flow. Managing POTS involves various approaches, such as making lifestyle changes, taking medications to alleviate symptoms, and engaging in physical therapy to enhance cardiovascular fitness. The primary goal of POTS management is to reduce symptoms, and health limitations and enhance overall quality of life.

Can You Get Disability For POTS?

POTS applicant need to satisfy the disability definition and disability assessment criteria from the SSA Blue Book listing to be eligible for the disability benefits. If the applicant can demonstrate that their medical condition is severe, the Social Security Administration (SSA) will review the case, and they may qualify for disability benefits.

The SSA defines a disability condition as:

  • Having a medically determinable mental or physical impairment;
  • That prevents you from performing or engaging in any substantial gainful activity (work); and,
  • Which is expected to result in your death or last at least 12 months.

While POTS may not be explicitly listed in the SSA’s Blue Book, it doesn’t preclude the applicant from potentially qualifying for Social Security Disability Income. However, the onus is on the applicant to demonstrate that POTS diagnosis meets or surpasses the criteria for a disabling condition.

Types Of Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome

Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS) is characterized by an abnormal increase in heart rate upon assuming an upright position. The different types of POTS are classified based on their underlying causes or associated conditions:

  • Primary POTS (Idiopathic POTS): Occurs without any known underlying medical condition and is associated with dysfunction in the autonomic nervous system. The exact cause is not fully understood.
  • Secondary POTS: Linked to an underlying medical condition or triggering event. Conditions contributing to secondary POTS include autoimmune disorders, connective tissue disorders, diabetes, mitochondrial diseases, and certain infections.
  • Hyperadrenergic POTS: Marked by an excessive release of norepinephrine (stress hormone) upon assuming an upright position. This type is often associated with increased blood pressure and symptoms like anxiety, tremors, and palpitations.
  • Neuropathic POTS: Caused by peripheral neuropathy, involving damage or dysfunction of nerves outside the brain and spinal cord. Abnormalities in sensory nerves controlling blood vessel dilation and heart rate regulation are common in this type.
  • Autoimmune POTS: Linked to autoimmune disorders where the immune system erroneously attacks the body’s tissues. Conditions like lupus, Sjögren’s syndrome, and rheumatoid arthritis can be associated with autoimmune POTS.

Understanding these various types helps in diagnosing and managing POTS effectively, with tailored approaches based on the specific characteristics of each subtype.

What Are The Symptoms Of POTS?

The symptoms of POTS can include, but are not limited to:

  • Chest pain
  • Muscle pain
  • Nerve Pain
  • Weakness
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Anxiety
  • Inability to exercise
  • Nausea
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Shaking or tremors
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Overly sweaty
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Chronic headaches
  • Shortness of breath
  • Heart palpitations
  • Dysautonomia impact
  • Physical functional impairment

Eligibility Criteria For POTS Syndrome Disability

POTS Syndrome Disability claim needs comprehensive documentation and a clear depiction of how POTS impacts daily life and work.

Collect detailed medical records that prove you have POTS. This should include test results, such as the tilt table test, which measures heart rate changes when you stand up. Additional tests, such as those for the digestive system, autonomic breathing, and blood/urine analysis, should be conducted and documented.  The Social Security Administration (SSA) typically requires records covering at least 12 months to confirm your diagnosis and treatment attempts.

Clearly describe how POTS affects your daily life and work. Discuss how symptoms like an increased heart rate, lightheadedness, and difficulty concentrating limit your ability to engage in physical activities and creates employment challenges. Conveying the severity of your symptoms and their impact on your life in your application will help for seeking SSD benefits.

Submitting thorough documentation to the SSA is essential, emphasizing the various symptoms and their severity. Remember, the SSA typically grants disability benefits if an individual is physically incapable of performing their job. Each case is evaluated based on the type and severity of symptoms, emphasizing the need for a detailed and compelling application.

Applying for a Disability Benefit for POTS

Securing POTS disability benefits involves a careful step-by-step process. Here’s what you need to do:

  • Gather all the necessary medical documentation including formal diagnosis, detailed records of symptoms, test results, POTS disability letter, and treatment history. These records will serve as evidence of the severity and impact of your condition on daily life.
  • Engage with healthcare professionals who possess expertise in treating POTS. Their insights can be invaluable for supporting your disability claim, as they can provide expert opinions detailing how your condition hinders your ability to work or carry out daily activities.
  • Fill out an application for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits with the SSA. Make sure your work history meets the needed criteria for eligibility.
  • Consider getting help from disability lawyers who specialize in cases like yours. They can assist you in navigating the process and advocating for your rights.
  • It’s common for disability claims to be initially denied. If your claim is denied, don’t lose hope. Most jurisdictions provide an appeals process, allowing you to present additional evidence or request a reconsideration of your case.

Understand that the application process takes time. Stay patient and continue with your medical treatment while waiting for a decision for your POTS disability claim.

What is the average disability check for POTS?

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits are determined based on the individual’s past earnings. It is subjective to each individual’s earnings and job type. 

Questions to ask yourself before applying for POTS permanent disability

  • How does POTS affect my daily life and work life?
  • Do I have necessary and required medical diagnosis and record?
  • How soon would I be able to provide medical documentation?
  • Am I unable to do the job anymore? What are my work limitations?
  • Do I have everything I need from my healthcare professional?
  • Can I meet all the disability eligibility criteria? 
  • Do I have all the information for the application process?
  • Are there any POTS restrictions to obtain disability rights?

Need Legal Help? Contact A Disability Lawyer

Whether POTS qualifies you for disability benefits depends on the severity of your condition. The dedicated disability attorneys at Anderson & Ackerman Law Group are committed to guiding you through the process, assisting individuals with disabilities like POTS in obtaining the benefits they deserve. We can help you initiate the process of receiving disability payments. For a free consultation and an increased chance of obtaining disability benefits, please contact us today.

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