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Proposed Rule

Revised Medical Criteria for Evaluating Cardiovascular Disorders

Document Details

Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

Published Document

This document has been published in the Federal Register. Use the PDF linked in the document sidebar for the official electronic format.

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AGENCY:

Social Security Administration.

ACTION:

Advance notice of proposed rulemaking.

SUMMARY:

We are requesting your comments on whether and how we should update and revise the criteria we use to evaluate claims involving cardiovascular disorders in adults and children. These criteria are found in sections 4.00 and 104.00 of the Listing of Impairments in appendix 1 to subpart P of part 404 of our regulations (the listings). We are requesting your comments as part of our ongoing effort to ensure that the listings are up-to-date.

After we have considered your comments and suggestions, other information about advances in medical knowledge, treatment, and methods of evaluating cardiovascular disorders, and our program experience using the current listings, we will determine whether we should revise any of the cardiovascular listings. If we propose specific revisions to the listings, we will publish a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) in the Federal Register.

DATES:

To be sure that your comments are considered, we must receive them no later than June 16, 2008.

ADDRESSES:

You may submit comments by one of four methods—Internet, facsimile, regular mail, or hand-delivery. Please do not submit the same comments multiple times or by more than one method. Regardless of which of the following methods you choose, please state that your comments refer to Docket No. SSA-2007-0102 to ensure that we can associate your comments with the correct regulation:

1. Federal eRulemaking portal at http://www.regulations.gov. (This is the most expedient method for submitting your comments, and we strongly urge you to use it.) In the Comment or Submission section of the webpage, type “SSA-2007-0102”, select “Go”, and then click “Send a Comment or Submission.” The Federal eRulemaking portal issues you a tracking number when you submit a comment.

2. Telefax to (410) 966-2830.

3. Letter to the Commissioner of Social Security, P.O. Box 17703, Baltimore, Maryland 21235-7703.

4. Deliver your comments to the Office of Regulations, Social Security Administration, 922 Altmeyer Building, 6401 Security Boulevard, Baltimore, Maryland 21235-6401, between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. on regular business days.

All comments are posted on the Federal eRulemaking portal, although they may not appear for several days after receipt of the comment. You may also inspect the comments on regular business days by making arrangements with the contact person shown in this preamble.

Caution: Our policy for comments we receive from members of the public is to make them available for public viewing in their entirety on the Federal eRulemaking portal at http://www.regulations.gov. Therefore, you should be careful to include in your comments only information that you wish to make publicly available on the Internet. We strongly urge you not to include any personal information, such as your Social Security number or medical information, in your comments.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Diane Braunstein, Director, Office of Compassionate Allowances and Listings Improvement, Social Security Administration, 4468 Annex Building, 6401 Security Boulevard, Baltimore, MD 21235-6401, (410) 965-1020, for information about this notice. For information on eligibility or filing for benefits, call our national toll-free number 1-800-772-1213 or TTY 1-800-325-0778, or visit our Internet site, Social Security Online, at http://www.socialsecurity.gov.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Electronic Version

The electronic file of this document is available on the date of publication in the Federal Register at http://www.gpoaccess.gov/​fr/​index.html.

What is the purpose of this ANPRM?

The purpose of this ANPRM is to give you an opportunity to send us comments and suggestions on whether and how we might update and revise listings 4.00 and 104.00 for evaluating cardiovascular disorders. We last published final rules revising the criteria that we use to evaluate cardiovascular disorders in the Federal Register on January 13, 2006 (71 FR 2311). We are publishing this ANPRM as part of our ongoing effort to ensure that our criteria are effective and reflect the latest advances in medicine.

On which rules are we inviting comments?

We are interested in any comments and suggestions you have on whether and how we might revise, update, and clarify sections 4.00 and 104.00 of the listings. You can find the current rules for these listings on the Internet at the following locations:

If you do not have Internet access, you can find the Code of Federal Regulations in some public libraries, Federal depository libraries, and public law libraries.

Who should send us comments and suggestions?

We invite comments and suggestions from anyone who has an interest in the rules we use to evaluate claims for benefits filed by people who have cardiovascular disorders. We are interested in getting comments and suggestions from people who apply for or receive benefits from us, members of the general public, advocates and organizations who represent people who have cardiovascular disorders, State agencies that make disability determinations for us, experts in the evaluation of cardiovascular disorders, and researchers.

What should you comment about?

We are interested in any comments and suggestions you have on how we might update and revise sections 4.00 and 104.00 of our listings. For example, with regard to our listings, we are interested in knowing if:

  • You have concerns about any of the provisions in the current cardiovascular listings, such as whether you think we should change any of our criteria or whether you think a listing is difficult to use or to understand.
  • You would like to see our cardiovascular listings include something that they do not include now, such as other cardiovascular disorders, additional medical technologies, specific laboratory studies, or new medical criteria.
  • You think our cardiovascular listings should include additional functional criteria and, if so, what those criteria should be.
  • You think there are cardiac diseases or conditions, however rare, that have such a devastating effect on patients that we should presume that they are unable to work.
  • You think new imaging techniques can provide new standards for allowing us to presume disability for certain advanced diseases and conditions.

Will we respond to your comments from this notice?

We will not respond directly to comments you send us in response to this ANPRM. However, after we consider your comments along with other information, such as medical research and other information about advances in medical knowledge, treatment, methods of evaluating cardiovascular disease, and our program experience, we will decide whether and how to revise the listings we use to evaluate cardiovascular disorders. If we propose revisions to these listings, we will publish an NPRM in the Federal Register. In accordance with the usual rulemaking procedures we follow, if we publish an NPRM, you will have a chance to comment on the revisions we propose, and we will summarize and respond to the significant comments on the NPRM in the preamble to any final rules.

Other Information

Who can get disability benefits?

Under title II of the Social Security Act (the Act), we provide for the payment of disability benefits if you are disabled and belong to one of the following three groups:

  • Workers insured under the Act,
  • Children of insured workers, and
  • Widows, widowers, and surviving divorced spouses (see § 404.336) of insured workers.

Under title XVI of the Act, we provide for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments on the basis of disability if you are disabled and have limited income and resources.

How do we define disability?

Under both the title II and title XVI programs, disability must be the result of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment or combination of impairments that is expected to result in death or which has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of at least 12 months. Our definitions of disability are shown in the following table:

If you file a claim under . . .And you are . . .Disability means you have a medically determinable impairment(s) as described above that results in . . .
title IIan adult or childthe inability to do any substantial gainful activity (SGA).
title XVIan individual age 18 or olderthe inability to do any SGA.
title XVIan individual under age 18marked and severe functional limitations.

How do we decide whether you are disabled?

If you are applying for benefits under title II of the Act, or if you are an adult applying for payments under title XVI of the Act, we use a five-step “sequential evaluation process” to decide whether you are disabled. We describe this five-step process in our regulations at §§ 404.1520 and 416.920. We follow the five steps in order and stop as soon as we can make a determination or decision. The steps are:

1. Are you working, and is the work you are doing SGA? If you are working and the work you are doing is SGA, we will find that you are not disabled, regardless of your medical condition or your age, education, and work experience. If you are not, we will go on to step 2.

2. Do you have a “severe” impairment? If you do not have an impairment or combination of impairments that significantly limits your physical or mental ability to do basic work activities, we will find that you are not disabled. If you do, we will go on to step 3.

3. Do you have an impairment(s) that meets or medically equals the severity of an impairment in the listings? If you do, and the impairment(s) meets the duration requirement, we will find that you are disabled. If you do not, we will go on to step 4.

4. Do you have the residual functional capacity (RFC) to do your past relevant work? If you do, we will find that you are not disabled. If you do not, we will go on to step 5.

5. Does your impairment(s) prevent you from doing any other work that exists in significant numbers in the national economy, considering your RFC, age, education, and work experience? If it does, and it meets the duration requirement, we will find that you are disabled. If it does not, we will find that you are not disabled.

We use a different sequential evaluation process for children who apply for payments based on disability under title XVI of the Act. See § 416.924 of our regulations. If you are already receiving benefits, we also use a different sequential evaluation process when we decide whether your disability continues. See §§ 404.1594, 416.924, 416.994, and 416.994a of our Start Printed Page 20566regulations. However, all of these processes include steps at which we consider whether your impairment(s) meets or medically equals one of our listings.

What are the listings?

The listings are examples of impairments that we consider severe enough to prevent you as an adult from doing any gainful activity. If you are a child seeking SSI payments under title XVI of the Act, the listings describe impairments that we consider severe enough to result in marked and severe functional limitations. Although the listings are contained only in appendix 1 to subpart P of part 404 of our regulations, we incorporate them by reference in the SSI program in § 416.925 of our regulations and apply them to claims under both title II and title XVI of the Act.

How do we use the listings?

The listings are in two parts. There are listings for adults (part A) and for children (part B). If you are an individual age 18 or over, we apply the listings in part A when we assess your claim, and we never use the listings in part B.

If you are an individual under age 18, we first use the criteria in part B of the listings. Part B contains criteria that apply only to individuals who are under age 18. If the criteria in part B do not apply, we may use the criteria in part A when those criteria give appropriate consideration to the effects of the impairment(s) in children. (See §§ 404.1525 and 416.925.)

If your impairment(s) does not meet any listing, we will also consider whether it medically equals any listing; that is, whether it is as medically severe as an impairment in the listings. (See §§ 404.1526 and 416.926.)

What if you do not have an impairment(s) that meets or medically equals a listing?

We use the listings only to decide that you are disabled or that you are still disabled. We will not deny your claim or decide that you no longer qualify for benefits because your impairment(s) does not meet or medically equal a listing. If you have a severe impairment(s) that does not meet or medically equal any listing, we may still find you disabled based on other rules in the sequential evaluation process. Likewise, we will not decide that your disability has ended only because your impairment(s) no longer meets or medically equals a listing.

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List of Subjects

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Dated: March 20, 2008.

Michael J. Astrue,

Commissioner of Social Security.

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[FR Doc. E8-8111 Filed 4-15-08; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4191-02-P