Disability Help Center - San Diego - February 2020

HELPING HAND

DisabilityHelpCenter.org

February 2020

February is the month of love, and although you should be paying special attention to the care and health of your heart every day, Valentine’s Day serves as a great reminder to pay it the attention it needs in every sense. Eating right and exercising can help you maintain a healthy heart, but, in some cases, chronic conditions make this difficult. It’s important to understand any conditions you may have and know how they affect your qualifications for Social Security benefits. According to the Social Security Administration, these are the most often recognized types of heart disease that allow you to qualify for Supplemental Security Income or Social Security Disability Insurance. Congestive heart failure occurs when the heart is unable to pump blood sufficiently to other organs. When this happens, the blood returning to the heart accumulates and results in congestion of the heart tissue. Symptoms include shortness of breath, weakness, and fatigue. The SSA lists this disease as “chronic heart failure,” and to meet this listing, you must have experienced this heart failure and be consistently unable to perform activities of daily living, have had three or more episodes of heart failure over the last year, or fail an exercise tolerance test. Coronary Artery Disease occurs when fat and calcium build up in the arteries and decrease blood flow to the heart. Arteriosclerosis is a related condition in which plaque buildup also causes the arterial walls to harden. Heart attacks generally occur under a combination of both these conditions. Symptoms include chest pain and shortness of breath, especially when exerting energy. To qualify for benefits under this disease, you must have had three separate infarction episodes requiring angioplasty or bypass surgery over the past year, show a 50%–70% narrowing of nonbypassed coronary artery, or have an abnormal exercise tolerance test. Recurrent Heart Arrhythmias, or abnormal heartbeats, are a disruption of the heart’s internal electrical system. They can cause the heart to beat too fast, too slow, erratically, or unpredictably. The symptoms include fluttering in the chest, dizziness, shortness of breath, and fainting. Some types are harmless, but others can cause insufficient blood flow. You may qualify for benefits if you’ve had a loss of consciousness on three occasions over the past year, your arrhythmia isn’t related to reversible causes, and has been documented by appropriate medical testing. HOW THEY IMPACT YOUR DISABILITY ENROLLMENT AFFAIRS OF THE HEART

Heart Transplants are less common than the above diseases but have more immediate qualifiers for disability benefits attached to them. If an individual has undergone a heart transplant for any reason, they are automatically considered disabled for one year following the surgery, due to the standards of necessary recovery time and inability to work efficiently during that period. After one year, it is still possible for the individual to qualify as disabled under another listing. While there are other conditionally qualifying types of heart disease, like aortic aneurysms or conditions that require pacemakers, the diseases listed above are most commonly awarded disability benefits, especially if their severity keeps you from living everyday life. If you believe you might qualify, it’s important to speak with your doctor about supplying sufficient documentation and evidence of your disability so that you can be sure you get the fiscal support you need. The Social Security Administration also keeps a “blue book” list of qualifying disabling impairments that you can find on their website for further information.

–Elizabeth Packard

888-418-8860 1

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