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By Diana Wade
Disability Advocate 

Can POTS qualify for disability?

Ask the Advocate


Benefits for Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome. If you suffer from a dysfunction of the autonomic nervous system, which is dysautonomia, you may qualify for Social Security disability benefits.

Postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS) is a condition that affects the blood flow of a sufferer. People who have POTS can experience a diminished quality of life. The symptoms and complications of this condition may make it difficult for a person to enjoy leisure activities or complete job tasks.

Common complications that can be linked to POTS include tachycardia, fatigue, headaches and difficulty concentrating. Physical activity is often difficult or impossible for people who suffer from POTS. The heart rate increases dangerously high when a person with the condition engages in physical activity, and even moving from a sitting position to a standing position can cause the heart rate to increase rapidly.

Any type of physical activity is impossible for a person with POTS to maintain. This means that it is typical for people who have this condition to be completely unable to work. Medical experts know very little about the cause of POTS, so treatment of the condition is focused on easing symptoms. Some patients do not see their symptoms diminish at all with treatments.

There is no specific listing for dysautonomia, but there are listings for the different body systems that are impacted by the disorder. In order to file for your condition, you need to focus on the severity of the symptoms and which body systems are most severely impacted.

Dysautonomia can have many symptoms, so your documentation should include extensive test results. These may include a tilt table test to determine blood pressure fluctuations, digestive system testing, and various scans and x-rays as well as lab work.

The effect of dysautonomia depends on the specific dysautonomic disorder the patient suffers from. Although many dysautonomic disorders can be managed, some dysautonomic disorders can be disabling and eventually fatal.

Some dysautonomic disorders rapidly progress and shorten a person's lifespan. Because of their severity and poor prognosis, these dysautonomic disorders qualify for automatic approval based on what the SSA calls a compassionate allowance.

An example of one such dysautonomic disorder is multiple system atrophy, or MSA. If you suffer from MSA, advise the SSA of your diagnosis as soon as you apply, and provide them with your complete medical history as it relates to your MSA.

An Accredited Disability Representative with more than 20 years experience, Diana Wade believes her clientele can be comfortable knowing that she is recognized by SSA and a charter member of NADR. To contact Ms. Wade call (661) 821-0494, email or visit


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