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Conditions that qualify for disability

Is High Blood Pressure a Disability? How to Qualify for Benefits

Written by
Jackie Jakab, Disability Attorney
Jackie Jakab
Lead Attorney
March 21, 2024  ·  4 min read
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Atticus offers free, high-quality disability advice for Americans who can't work. Our team of Stanford and Harvard trained lawyers has a combined 15+ years of legal experience, and have helped over 10,000 Americans apply for disability benefits.

See if you qualify

High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, can qualify you for disability benefits if you are unable to work due to the severity of your condition. Uncontrolled high blood pressure can damage to your circulatory system, possibly leading to heart disease and serious cardiovascular events like a stroke or heart attack.

To get disability benefits for high blood pressure, you must prove your condition meets the Social Security Administration (SSA) eligibility requirements.

We'll walk you through the SSA criteria for hypertension to qualify as a disability and offer guidance for navigating the application process.

What is high blood pressure?

High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a condition where the pressure of the blood pushing up against the walls of the arteries is consistently too high. Typically, hypertension is diagnosed when blood pressure readings consistently measure at either 140/90 mm Hg or higher. This measurement can be 130/80 mm Hg or higher, depending on the guidelines the healthcare provider is using.

Common types of high blood pressure

There are two main types of high blood pressure:

  1. Primary hypertension: Also known as essential high blood pressure, this type is caused by aging and certain lifestyle factors, such as not getting enough physical activity. This is the most common type of hypertension.

  2. Secondary hypertension: This type of high blood pressure results from certain medical conditions or medications that constrict blood vessels. Secondary hypertension typically improves if you treat the medical condition or stop taking the medication causing it.

Symptoms of high blood pressure

High blood pressure often does not result in any apparent symptoms, but it can damage other bodily systems and organs, such as your heart, brain, kidneys, or eyes. Some people may experience symptoms such as:

  • Dizziness

  • Headaches

  • Nosebleeds

  • Shortness of breath 

Is high blood pressure a disability?

Yes, the Social Security Administration considers high blood pressure a disability. The SSA lists high blood pressure in Section H of the Blue Book, the official listing of qualifying conditions. However, to receive Social Security disability for hypertension, it's necessary to prove that you cannot work due to your condition. High blood pressure can also be considered a disability under the Americans with Disability Act (ADA) if it is substantially limiting. Passed in 1990, the ADA prohibits discrimination against individuals who have disabilities.

Uncertain about whether your high blood pressure qualifies?

Can you get disability for high blood pressure?

Yes, you can get disability benefits for high blood pressure if your condition prevents you from working. The SSA evaluates hypertension based on its effects on other body systems.

Even if you can demonstrate to the SSA that your hypertension prevents you from working, it's still easier to secure disability benefits if you apply with more than one qualifying condition. For instance, individuals with secondary hypertension, in particular, can also have conditions such as:

To learn more about these conditions and others, check out our main guide on conditions that qualify for disability.

As you navigate this process, don't hesitate to seek help. We've compiled resources for people with disabilities and anyone who needs financial or legal assistance in the near term. 

Criteria for getting disability with high blood pressure

When reviewing your disability claim, the SSA will base its assessment on the effects of your hypertension on other body systems, such as your heart, brain, kidney, or eyes. Additionally, the SSA will note any physical limitations your hypertension causes.

You will need to provide medical evidence showing these impacts and supporting your claim that you are unable to work because of your high blood pressure. In your application, you may consider providing:

  • Up-to-date medical records like blood pressure measurements, MRIs, CT scans, stress tests, and bloodwork

  • Proof of unsuccessful treatments you've tried, such as medication, lifestyle and dietary changes, physical therapy, massage therapy, or chiropractic therapy

  • Documentation of the impacts your hypertension has on your day-to-day activities

3 questions to ask yourself before applying

The application process for Social Security benefits is challenging, so it's helpful to know how likely you are to qualify before you begin. If you're able to answer “yes” to most of the following questions, then you have a good chance of getting disability for your hypertension:

  1. Does your high blood pressure significantly limit you in your daily activities and the workplace?

  2. Have you sought treatment from a cardiologist and undergone testing?

  3. Has your condition failed to improve with prescribed medication and other treatments, such as lifestyle changes or different therapies? 

Need help gathering medical records? A lawyer can do that.

My high blood pressure meets the criteria. Now what?

If your hypertension meets the SSA requirements to qualify for disability, the next step is to apply for disability benefits. Do you need more clarification on whether your high blood pressure checks the SSA's boxes? Walk yourself through the following questions, which can help you gauge what steps make sense to take next:

Apply now if:

  • Your hypertension is severe enough to prevent you from being able to work, and your symptoms persist even with treatment.

  • You have another qualifying condition alongside high blood pressure.

Consider waiting and applying later if:

  • Your symptoms related to your hypertension are moderate, or you think they are getting better with treatment.

  • You have yet to stop working, even if you think your high blood pressure may force you to in the future.

Probably don’t apply if:

  • You can still work while dealing with the effects of your high blood pressure

  • You're earning more than $1,550 per month

Even if your hypertension does not meet all of the SSA requirements, you can still apply. Just remember that you will need to prove that your high blood pressure prevents you from working.

What type of benefits should I apply for?

There are two different types of Social Security disability benefits you can apply for: 

  1. Supplemental Security Income: Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is for people who have not worked much or at all and have a low income (around $900 a month or less) and few assets, like savings and other valuable property.

  2. Social Security Disability Insurance: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is for people who have worked and paid taxes for at least five out of the last 10 years.

Both SSI and SSDI include health insurance (Medicare for SSDI and Medicaid for SSI). Whether you're applying on your own behalf or are helping a loved one apply for disability benefits, it's essential to know which type of benefits is appropriate.

For a more in-depth breakdown, reference our article on the differences between SSDI and SSI.

How much is a disability check for high blood pressure?

On average, disability checks for hypertension are around $1,613.93 per month. In 2024, the most you can receive monthly for high blood pressure is $3,822 with SSDI benefits and $943 with SSI benefits.

These upper limits apply regardless of which condition qualifies you for disability or how many qualifying conditions you have. Instead, your benefit amount is determined by either your work history for SSDI, or your other sources of income for SSI.

To get a better sense of how much you may receive monthly with disability, here's a look at how much people make on SSDI and SSI.

Get help applying for benefits for high blood pressure

For more guidance on the application process, take our 2-minute disability quiz. A member of our team can offer personalized advice, and we can match you with a disability lawyer to help you navigate the application process if you’d like. 

There are no upfront costs to working with a lawyer — you only pay a one-time fee if they win you benefits. A disability attorney can help you gather the right medical records, complete your application, and build your case for receiving benefits for hypertension. 

Frequently asked questions about qualifying for disability

What conditions qualify for disability benefits?

Any medical condition that leaves you unable to work can qualify for Social Security disability benefits. The SSA has a list of common qualifying conditions in the Blue Book. You can also check our full guide to all the conditions that can qualify for disability.

Does my condition affect my disability benefit?

No, the medical condition you have doesn’t affect how much you get from SSDI or SSI. Where you live also doesn’t impact your check size.

How much do SSDI and SSI pay?

SSDI pays up to $3,822 per month, though the average check is about $1,500 in 2024. SSI can pay up to $943 per month in 2024. Read more about how much you can make on SSDI and SSI.

When should I apply for disability benefits?

We recommend applying for benefits as soon as you know you’ll be unable to work. The application process takes a while — a year or longer for the average person. The sooner you submit your application, the sooner you can get your benefits.

Where do I apply for disability benefits?

Apply for Social Security disability benefits online through the SSA website or in-person at your local SSA office. Get step-by-step help in our breakdown of the disability application process.

Do I need a lawyer to apply for disability?

A lawyer isn’t required and you can win benefits without a lawyer. However, the process is complicated and technical — especially when you get to a court hearing. Working with a good lawyer triples your chances of winning an appeal.

Related resources:

Does a Stroke Qualify for Disability?

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Is Peripheral Vascular Disease a Disability?

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See what you qualify for

How long has your condition made it hard to work?

Jackie Jakab, Disability Attorney

Jackie Jakab

Lead Attorney

Jackie Jakab is Atticus’s Legal Director. She’s a licensed attorney, a graduate of the University of Chicago Law School, and has counseled thousands of people seeking disability benefits.
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