Disability Benefits for Heart Disease

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Heart disease can be a serious, disabling condition that affects millions of individuals across the country. While disability benefits are available for those who are unable to work due to their condition, securing these vital resources can be overwhelmingly difficult and the majority of claims are initially denied. In turn, many disabled workers seek guidance from seasoned attorneys who understand how to successfully obtain disability for heart disease and cardiovascular conditions. 

Schaffer & Associates has the in-depth knowledge and experience necessary to help you secure the benefits you deserve. We are passionate about the rights of individuals, and we work tirelessly to defend these rights at every step of the process. To speak with an experienced attorney about your claim, consider contacting us at (419) 350-8277 today. 

What Is Heart Disease?

Heart disease is a term used to refer to a broad range of conditions that impact the heart. The most common type of heart disease is coronary artery disease, which is characterized by irregular blood flow to the heart. Arrhythmias, congenital heart defects, and heart valve disease are also examples of common heart diseases. As the leading cause of death in the nation, heart disease is a serious and costly public health issue. 

What Are the Common Symptoms & Experiences of Heart Disease?

Many heart disease patients report early symptoms of chest pain, shortness of breath, swelling, and fatigue. The specific symptoms that you may experience will depend on the condition you suffer from and the severity of the disease. Some individuals experience heart palpitations, sweating, and shortness of breath while others struggle with dizziness and fatigue. As heart disease progresses, symptoms often become more severe and disabling, underscoring the importance of early detection. 

What Are Common Heart Disease Risk Factors?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, roughly half of all Americans have at least one of the three main risk factors of heart disease. These risk factors include high blood pressure, smoking, and high cholesterol. There are other contributing factors to heart disease as well. For instance, you are more likely to develop heart disease if you struggle with: 

  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Family history of heart conditions 
  • Excessive drug or alcohol use
  • Lack of exercise
  • Work stress
  • Exposure to chemical hazards

Overall, heart disease typically develops because of unhealthy behaviors, pre-existing medical conditions, and/or exposure to specific social or environmental conditions in the workplace. In occupational settings, risk factors like stress, irregular shift work, exposure to chemical hazards, and the physical demands of the job can all greatly increase the likelihood of developing heart disease for workers in certain industries. 

Is Heart Disease Considered a Disability?

Many individuals are forced to continue working despite showing early signs of heart disease, often due to financial constraints. This can cause a person’s condition to worsen over time and become even more debilitating, leaving them totally unable to perform their everyday job duties. If your heart disease symptoms make it difficult or impossible for you to work, you may be eligible for disability for heart disease. Whether you qualify for disability benefits, however, depends on the nature of your condition and the severity of your symptoms. 

How Does Heart Disease Qualify for Disability?

If you have a heart disease, there are two parameters that you must meet in order to qualify for disability. First, you must medically qualify for disability benefits. This typically means that your condition, or the combined effect of multiple conditions, is so severe that you are forced to leave work for one year or more. 

In addition to the medical requirements, you must also demonstrate that you have participated in the workforce for a sufficient amount of time and earned enough recent work credits to qualify for disability for heart disease. Social Security work credits are calculated based on your yearly income or self-employment wages. The number of work credits you need to qualify for disability depends on the age you were when your disability began. Most workers need 40 credits to qualify for benefits, but younger workers may require fewer credits.  

Social Security Listing for Heart Disease

The Social Security Administration outlines the different conditions that qualify for disability benefits as well the work requirements you must meet to apply for benefits. The Blue Book listing for the cardiovascular system outlines the common heart problems that qualify for benefits. Specifically, Section 4.00 of the Blue Book defines the symptoms and conditions that are considered severe enough to justify disability payments. The cardiovascular diseases included in the Social Security listing for heart disease include: 

  • Chronic heart failure
  • Ischemic heart disease
  • Prolonged arrhythmias 
  • Congenital heart disease
  • Heart transplant 
  • Aneurysm 
  • Chronic venous insufficiency
  • Peripheral arterial disease

If you suffer from a heart problem in the form of any one of these conditions, you may be eligible for Social Security benefits. While some conditions are not directly included under this listing, you may still be able to qualify for benefits if you cannot work as a consequence of your symptoms. 

With the proper evidence and documentation, the Social Security Administration may determine that you meet the criteria of a cardiovascular listing. At Schaffer & Associates, we have helped countless individuals navigate the stringent requirements for Social Security disability to successfully secure the benefits they need and deserve. 

Do Heart Stents Qualify for Disability? 

Heart stents alone are not listed within the Social Security Administration’s Blue Book. If you have heart stents in addition to other symptoms of heart disease or other diagnoses, your attorney may still be able to secure disability benefits for you. 

How Can I Prove Long-Term Disability for Heart Disease?

Medical evidence is needed to prove long-term disability for heart disease. The type of evidence you provide to support your claim is crucial and can make all the difference in the outcome of your case. Some examples of medical evidence that can be used to prove your claim for disability benefits include: 

  • Proof of diagnosis, such as diagnostic tests, medical evaluations, or doctors’ notes substantiating your condition. 
  • Test results, including blood tests, electrocardiograms (ECGs or EKGs), MRIs, and stress tests. 
  • Doctor’s report outlining the details of your condition and discussing how your heart disease affects your ability to work.
  • Evidence of treatment of your condition. When submitting a disability claim, including records of follow-up appointments, medications that you are taking, and rehabilitative measures can be helpful. 

As you navigate the diagnosis and treatment processes, ensure that you keep copies of relevant medical documents. Your attorney will use these records to support your claim for disability benefits and prove that you are unable to work due to your heart disease. Compliance with your medical treatment is also important for approval.

What Is Residual Functional Capacity?

If the Social Security Administration determines that you do not meet the requirements established in the Blue Book, you may still qualify for benefits based on your Residual Functional Capacity. Residual Functional Capacity refers to the maximum amount of work you can complete after taking your current physical limitations into account. 

A disability examiner will consider factors including fatigue, breathing issues, and angina to determine your Residual Functional Capacity. Your eligibility for disability benefits is dependent on whether you are able to continue gainful employment for a year or more. A Residual Functional Capacity assessment can be an important part of your claim and support your application in the event that you do not sufficiently match the criteria set forth in the Blue Book. 

How to Apply for Disability Benefits for Heart Disease

The application for disability benefits is located on the Social Security Administration’s website. When applying for disability benefits, it is critical that you include all necessary documentation and medical evidence to support your claim. Your application should highlight the fact that your ability to live, work, and perform everyday tasks has been impaired due to your heart disease. Furthermore, if you suffer from other conditions or medical issues, it is important to include these within your application. Working with an experienced Social Security disability attorney from Schaffer & Associates can help improve the chances of a successful application.

Hiring an Attorney to Help You Apply for Social Security Disability Benefits

Heart disease can be a debilitating condition that impacts your quality of life, your financial security, and your ability to work. If you or a loved one is currently suffering from symptoms related to heart disease, you may be entitled to disability benefits to offset the cost of medical care and lost wages. 

For three decades, our team of experienced attorneys have zealously defended the rights of injured and disabled workers. If you are considering filing a claim for disability for heart disease or if you were unfairly denied benefits, we are here to help guide you through the next steps of the process. For more information, consider connecting with Schaffer & Associates at (419) 350-8277 today.