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Can You Get Disability Benefits For Heart Disease?

Yes, it is possible to receive disability benefits for heart disease if the condition meets the eligibility criteria set by the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). This typically involves providing medical evidence that your heart disease severely limits your ability to perform day-to-day activities and that this limitation is expected to last for at least 12 months.

The Social Security Administration (SSA) typically requires objective medical evidence to support your disability claim. This can include diagnostic tests, imaging studies, cardiac function assessments, and any other relevant medical evaluations. These findings should establish the severity and impact of your heart problems on your overall health and functional abilities.

What is heart disease?

Heart Disease Disability

Heart disease, also known as cardiovascular disease, refers to a range of conditions that affect the heart and blood vessels. It is a broad term that encompasses various disorders, including coronary artery disease, heart failure, arrhythmias, congenital heart defects, and valvular heart disease, among others.

Heart disease is often caused by a combination of factors, including lifestyle choices (such as an unhealthy diet, lack of physical activity, smoking, and excessive alcohol consumption), underlying medical conditions (such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes), family history of heart disease, and age. Heart disease can cause kidney damage, liver malfunction, pulmonary hypertension, and depression.

Is heart disease a disability?

Heart disease itself is not considered a disability. However, the limitations and impairments caused by heart disease can potentially qualify as a disability under certain circumstances. The impact of heart disease on an individual’s ability to perform daily activities and engage in work or other substantial gainful activity is taken into consideration when determining disability eligibility.

To qualify for heart disease disability benefits, individuals typically need to demonstrate that their condition significantly limits their ability to work. This may include providing medical evidence of heart-related symptoms, functional limitations, treatment history, and the impact of the condition on their daily life.

What are the symptoms of heart disease?

The symptoms of heart disease can vary depending on the specific condition and its severity. Some common symptoms and signs of heart disease include:

  • Chest pain or discomfort: This can manifest as a sensation of pressure, tightness, squeezing, or burning in the chest.
  •  Shortness of breath: Feeling breathless or having difficulty breathing, especially during physical exertion or when lying flat, can be a symptom of heart disease.
  •  Fatigue: Unexplained and persistent fatigue or a decrease in stamina may be an indication of heart disease. Everyday activities may become more challenging and tiring.
  •  Palpitations: Sensations of rapid, irregular, or pounding heartbeats, or the feeling that the heart is “fluttering” or “skipping a beat.”
  •  Dizziness or lightheadedness: Feeling dizzy, lightheaded, or fainting can occur due to inadequate blood supply to the brain or irregular heart rhythms.
  •  Swelling: Fluid retention leading to swelling in the legs, ankles, feet, or abdomen (edema).
  •  Rapid weight gain: Sudden and unexplained weight gain, often accompanied by swelling, can be a symptom of heart failure.
  •  Nausea or indigestion: Some people with heart disease may experience symptoms that mimic indigestion, such as nausea, abdominal discomfort, or a feeling of fullness.

What are the types of heart disease?

There are several types of heart disease, each affecting different parts of the heart or the blood vessels connected to it. Some common types of heart disease include:

  • Coronary artery disease (CAD): This is the most common type of heart disease and occurs when the coronary arteries that supply blood to the heart become narrowed or blocked due to the buildup of plaque (atherosclerosis).
  • Heart failure: Heart failure occurs when the heart is unable to pump blood effectively, resulting in a reduced supply of oxygen and nutrients to the body’s organs and tissues.
  • Arrhythmias: Arrhythmias are irregular heart rhythms that can be too fast (tachycardia), too slow (bradycardia), or irregular.
  • Valvular heart disease: This refers to conditions affecting the heart valves, which control the flow of blood through the chambers of the heart.
  • Congenital heart disease: Congenital heart disease is present at birth and involves structural abnormalities in the heart or blood vessels.
  • Cardiomyopathy: Cardiomyopathy is a condition that affects the heart muscle, making it weak, thickened, or rigid. It can lead to heart failure, arrhythmias, and other cardiac problems.
  • Pericardial disease: Pericardial disease involves inflammation or abnormalities of the pericardium, the protective sac surrounding the heart.

Which type of heart disease qualifies for disability?

Some examples of heart diseases that may qualify for disability benefits include chronic heart failure, ischemic heart disease, arrhythmias, and congenital heart disease.

I am eligible for heart disease disability benefits. Now what?

If you believe your diagnosis for heart disease disability, the next step is to apply for benefits. Different stages are discussed as follows:

  • Assess your situation: You need to meet the eligibility criteria of the SSA that your medical condition is lasting for at least 12 months or more.
  • Decide which program you are applying for: An applicant needs to apply for SSI or SSDI. SSDI is based on your employment history, work credits whereas SSI is a need based program that will be given if you have low income and assets.
  • Gather documentation:  The SSA may require documentation such as medical records, educational records, work history, and financial information.
  •  Submit your application: Fill your application by providing accurate and detailed information.
  •  Appeals and hearings: If your initial application gets denied, you can file appeals with the help of a disability attorney in New Jersey.

What if you do not meet the eligibility criteria of the SSA?

If you do not meet the eligibility criteria for heart disease disability, the Social Security Administration may still consider you for benefits if your heart condition prevents you from doing any kind of work that you have done in the past. This is called the residual functional capacity assessment.

The RFC assessment considers your physical and mental limitations, as well as your age, education, and work experience. If the SSA determines that your heart condition prevents you from doing any kind of work that you have done in the past, you may be eligible for disability benefits. Some things you can do to increase your chances of being approved for disability benefits if your heart condition does not meet the SSA’s eligibility criteria are as follows:

  • Get all of your medical records together.
  • Get a letter from your doctor that describes your heart condition and how it affects your ability to work.
  • Be as detailed as possible when describing your symptoms and how they affect your ability to work.

How much is the disability check for heart disease?

The maximum disability payment for heart disease disability under SSDI is $3,600 and for SSI is $914 per month in 2023. However, the disability check may vary depending on the work and income history.  

Disability claim rejected? Contact the Chermol & Fishman, LLC

The application process for disability benefits can be complex, and it may take time for a decision to be reached. Be patient, provide accurate information, and ensure you provide comprehensive information about heart disease and disability in appeals. Schedule a free consultation or call 888-774-7243 to discuss your claim process.

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