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Receiving Disability Benefits for Heart Attack
Many people mistakenly believe that a heart attack automatically qualifies them for SS disability benefits. You may absolutely know that a heart attack has affected your ability to return to work as well as your normal day-to-day tasks yet proving that to the SSA can be more difficult. While you may be approved for heart attack and disability benefits, that approval may require a Social Security disability attorney who can present your claim in the best light possible.
The Social Security disability attorneys from Carmichael Law Group can help you during this difficult time. We understand the position you are in—unable to work and make a living, yet unable to secure much-needed Social Security disability benefits. Our attorneys are highly skilled, knowledgeable, and experienced in every aspect of Social Security disability. Whether you are at the initial application stage, or your initial application has been denied and you are looking at an appeal, Carmichael Law Group can help.
Although meeting the criteria detailed under the impairment listing guidelines for your specific mental or physical condition is important, it is equally important to tell your story in a way that clearly shows the impact your condition has had on your life and your ability to work.
Social Security does not pay for partial disability or short-term disability—only total disability. SSA determines whether you are disabled by asking the following five questions:
- Are you currently working? If you are working, and you are consistently making more than $1,310 per month, you will probably not be considered disabled.
- Does your disability prevent you from performing basic work-related activities (walking, standing, sitting, remembering)? In short, is your condition considered “severe?”
- Does your disabling medical condition meet or equal the severity of a listing found in the Blue Book list of medical conditions?
- Are you able to do the work you did prior to your disability?
- Can you make an adjustment to do any other type of work?
What Is a Heart Attack?
When the flow of blood to the heart is blocked—usually due to a buildup of fat, cholesterol, and other substances which form a plaque—a heart attack can occur. In some instances, the plaque can rupture, forming a clot that blocks blood flow and subsequently damaging or destroying a part of the heart muscle. Heart attacks are also known as myocardial infarctions and can potentially be fatal. Treatment for heart attacks has improved significantly over the years, and when you get treatment as quickly as possible, the outcome of your heart attack greatly improves. The most common symptoms of a heart attack include:
- Abdominal pain
- Pressure, tightness, pain, squeezing, or aching sensation in your chest that can spread to the arms, neck, jaw, or back
- Cold sweats
- Unusual fatigue
- Sudden dizziness
- Shortness of breath
Symptoms of a heart attack vary significantly from one person to the next, and between men and women. The earliest warning of a heart attack could be recurrent pressure or chest pain that appears to be triggered by activity and relieved by rest. This is known as angina and is caused by a temporary blood flow decrease to the heart. According to the American Heart Association, as many as 16.5 million Americans are currently living with coronary heart disease. Heart disease and stroke remain the leading global cause of death.
Is a Heart Attack a Disability Under Social Security Disability Rules?
A heart attack in and of itself is not considered a disabling condition by the Social Security Administration, however, the complications that can result from a heart attack could qualify you for disability benefits. Since the most common cause of a heart attack is coronary artery disease (clogged arteries), you could qualify for benefits under the listing for Ischemic Heart Disease. To qualify under Ischemic Heart Disease, your records must show the following:
- You have severe fatigue with exertion or exercise intolerance
- You suffer from narrowing of or blockage in the arteries OR
You have had at least three episodes within a 12-month period when a narrowing of the arteries required angioplasty, a stint, or other surgical interventions.
If your heart attack results in severe damage to the heart muscle, then you could potentially qualify for disability benefits under the Chronic Heart Failure section. To qualify under Chronic Heart Failure, your medical records must contain evidence of heart dysfunction in one or more chambers. Your heart failure must limit your ability to accomplish everyday tasks due to severe fatigue, fluid collection in your lungs, or inadequate amounts of oxygen to your brain. If your heart failure is so severe that you will require a heart transplant, you qualify for SS disability benefits while you wait for the transplant and for at least one year following the transplant.
Providing Proof for a Heart Attack and Disability Benefits
It can be tough to qualify for a heart attack and disability benefits, even if your resulting heart issues prevent you from working for a year or longer. While a heart attack is not listed as a disabling condition in the SSA listing of impairments, heart disease is. In addition to the above requirements, you must have at least one of the following symptoms:
- Narrowing by at least 70 percent of a bypass graft vessel
- A narrowing by at least half of a non-bypassed left main coronary artery
- The narrowing by at least 70 percent of another non-bypassed coronary artery
- A narrowing by at least half of a long segment of a non-bypassed coronary artery
- A narrowing of two non-bypassed coronary arteries by at least half
Along with these specific symptoms, you must also be able to show significant limitations in your ability to perform your routine activities.
Getting Help with Your Heart Attack and Disability Benefits from Carmichael Law Group
Because of the prevalence of heart attacks in the United States, the SSA is especially strict regarding heart attacks as disabilities. It is crucial that you have a highly experienced SS disability attorney in your corner that can provide the documentation the SSA will be looking for. The attorneys at Carmichael Law Group have the ability to do just that through experience, knowledge, and resources. We promise to fight for your disability benefits; we believe you deserve an attorney who has compassion for your situation and will not give up easily. Contact Carmichael Law Group, LLC today.