Dysautonomia is a dysfunction of the autonomic nervous system, and one of the hundreds of kinds of dysautonomia is Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome. Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS) is a very complicated autonomic disorder that causes dizziness and fainting spells when a person suddenly changes position, such as when sitting or standing up from lying down or being seated.
Many of those who suffer from the condition may find themselves asking, “Is POTS a disability?” It may be difficult to diagnose, but it is certainly a disability for the people who experience it. However, because there could be several different causes for your symptoms, 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.
Do you have Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS)?
Our nervous system has many different functions, most of which are on autopilot. These include breathing, maintaining a normal body temperature, sweating, and keeping our heart beating. Our nervous system also takes care of digesting our food and maintaining normal blood pressure. We never have to think about doing these things; our nervous system takes care of them.
All these automatic functions are governed by the autonomic nervous system. When something is not working correctly in the autonomic nervous system, it is referred to as dysautonomia. Given the various duties that the autonomic nervous system is responsible for, the range and severity of symptoms make it difficult to get a definitive diagnosis.
Symptoms of Dysautonomia
Symptoms include headaches, digestive problems, sensory disorders, muscle and nerve pain, and orthostatic hypotension, which means that your blood pressure falls rapidly when you stand up, possibly leading to fainting. Anxiety and sleep disorders may also be symptoms of dysautonomia.
Symptoms Specific to POTS
POTS is mostly diagnosed by exclusion, as the many types of dysautonomia and some entirely different medical conditions have similar symptoms. This means doctors will need to rule out all other reasons for your symptoms one by one.
Before doctors can diagnose POTS, they first rule out orthostatic hypotension as a reason for your symptoms. Doctors also check for recent blood loss and dehydration before testing.
With POTS, symptoms usually occur when you are standing upright. Doctors measure your heart rate while you are lying down on a tilt table, and again when the table moves you to an upright position. If your heart rate increases by at least 30 beats per minute, that is a sign of POTS.
Other symptoms of POTS may include lightheadedness, episodes of fainting, difficulty with concentration, long-lasting fatigue, headaches, palpitations, nausea, tremors, and blurry vision. Some people also experience shakiness, and find that exercise exacerbates their symptoms.
Disability Insurance Benefits from an Insurance Company
Many people have short term and long term disability insurance policies through their workplaces as part of a group benefits plan. Individuals can also obtain disability insurance through a broker or directly from an insurance company.
Short Term Disability Policies
Typically, a short-term disability policy will replace 60 to 70% of your income and pays out for a limited time—perhaps for six months to one year. Payments usually won’t begin until one to two weeks after you’ve proven your disability. Short-term policies are intended for temporary setbacks like broken arms or torn ligaments. If you’re unable to return to work at the end of your STD benefit period, you can then file a claim for long-term disability.
Long Term Disability Policies
Long-term policies usually replace about 60% of your previous salary and can pay benefits for years, sometimes until you reach retirement age. However, some policies have limitations. Even if you’ve paid your premiums, insurance companies may try to avoid payouts, necessitating the help of an experienced disability insurance lawyer.
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) Benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA)
Before starting the application process for a Social Security Disability Insurance claim with the SSA, ensure you meet the non-medical requirements. For example, you need a work history where you paid Social Security taxes. Without this, you are not eligible to collect disability benefits. You also need a long enough work history to earn a sufficient number of credits, and your work must be recent enough for these credits to remain valid.
The Blue Book
The SSA bases all its disability decisions on a published list of disorders known as the Blue Book. While dysautonomia is not listed, various body systems related to your symptoms are. Your doctor must document how your condition affects your daily life and ability to work. For instance, POTS symptoms can make physical activity difficult, thereby limiting job opportunities. Comprehensive and detailed medical records will help qualify you for benefits.
Is POTS a Disability? Request a Free Case Evaluation
Whether or not POTS will qualify you for disability benefits depends on the severity of your condition. Experienced disability lawyers at Ortiz Law Firm can guide you through the process. Our specialized attorneys understand that you’ll need precise documentation of your symptoms, diagnosis, frequency of episodes, duration, and treatments. If you need help getting the benefits you deserve, contact us today. You can call our office at (888) 321-8131 or reach out online for a free consultation.