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  1. Hamm, Larry F. PhD, MAACVPR
  2. Wenger, Nanette K. MD, MAACVPR
  3. Arena, Ross PhD, PT, FAACVPR
  4. Forman, Daniel E. MD
  5. Lavie, Carl J. MD
  6. Miller, Todd D. MD
  7. Thomas, Randal J. MD, MS, FAACVPR


The Social Security Administration (SSA) oversees the disability determination process and the payment of disability benefits to Americans. According to recent SSA data, approximately 900 000 persons are receiving cardiovascular disability payments and about 145 000 adult claims for cardiovascular disability are processed by the SSA annually. An objective and comprehensive examination of functional capacity is an important part of the disability assessment process. This statement reviews various protocols for disability assessment of aerobic capacity, muscle function, and the physical requirements of job tasks. Cardiac rehabilitation programs are ideal settings for conducting comprehensive disability assessments of functional capacity in persons with cardiovascular disease. In addition, exercise training provided by cardiac rehabilitation programs can increase functional capacity in most patients.