Tips on Qualifying For Benefits After a Heart Attack

It is estimated that over 700,000 Americans each year have a heart attack. Of these, almost 200,000 report the heart attack not being their first. While the heart is a durable organ, just one attack has the potential to severely hinder a person’s ability to work, get around, or support themselves on a daily basis.

If your heart attack has left you in need of assistance, Social Security disability benefits may be able to help. While receiving benefits for a heart attack may be tricky, it is entirely possible to do by following the three tips listed below.

Tip #1: Diagnose any residual heart trouble that your heart attack may have caused.

When the Social Security Administration (SSA) looks at an application, they compare the applicant’s diagnosis to the “Blue Book”, which lists all symptoms necessary to qualify with a disorder. Because heart attacks are rather common and don’t always affect a person severely, heart attacks do not have their own listing in the Blue Book. However, this doesn’t mean that heart attacks can’t qualify for benefits.

Can a heart attack qualify?

The Blue Book contains several listings for other various cardiovascular disorders that can all be caused by or linked to myocardial infarctions (heart attacks). One of the best ways to qualify with a heart attack is to show the presence of one of these other disorders. For example, ischemic heart disease is a common cause (or result) of a heart attack, resulting in narrowed heart passageways, limited blood flow, and a worsened capacity for exercise and normal functioning. With a diagnosis of ischemic heart disease, it is possible to qualify for disability benefits. Other disorders like chronic heart failure, arterial disease, recurrent arrhythmias, or congenital heart disease can also help you to qualify.

Tip #2: Receive regular check-ups for your heart and send all findings to the SSA.

Because some people who have heart attacks do not experience drastic or lasting effects, the SSA is wary to approve someone for benefits after a single event. In fact, it is common for reviewers to put a heart attack on someone’s file, then wait for a period of months to monitor the applicant’s continued medical state.

To improve your chances of receiving benefits, be sure to schedule routine, frequent check-ups after your heart attack to continuously monitor your symptoms. The more severe your condition gets after the initial event, the more likely the SSA is to approve you for benefits. Changes in your medical condition should then be sent as soon as possible to the SSA each time they are diagnosed.

Tip #3: Have your doctor perform an RFC analysis.

If your symptoms after the heart attack are difficult to pinpoint with an official diagnosis, but still cause you to struggle daily, then an RFC test is the best next step. These tests are performed by your physician and measure a person’s ability to function with tasks like lifting, sitting/standing for extended periods, cooking/cleaning in the home, using a car or public transportation, etc. While an RFC form alone is not enough to qualify a person for benefits, lower scores serve to show the SSA that you are in need of assistance for your condition.

Contacting a Social Security Advocate or Attorney

Disability applications can be tricky to complete, especially when small mistakes or missing documents can be the difference between winning or losing a case. For assistance applying for your disability benefits, consider speaking with a disability attorney before you apply. Their ability to keep medical documents organized, applications mistake-free, and Social Security agents up-to-date can drastically improve your chances of receiving the benefits you deserve.

Before starting your application, consider scheduling a free consultation with a disability attorney today.

Additional Resources

  • What Kinds of Heart Diseases Qualify for Disability?