Heart Attack as A Disability: Understanding The Facts and Myths
Heart attacks are life-threatening conditions that affect hundreds of thousands of Americans every year. While some people recover and go back to leading healthy lives, others struggle with the effects of the condition for an extended duration.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, over 800,000 people in the United States suffer a heart attack every year—one every 40 seconds. While one out of five victims experiences a silent attack, most have pronounced symptoms.
Generally, a heart attack is disabling, no matter how old you are. It requires proactive management of the risk factors, or it can keep you from performing the important duties of your occupation.
The Social Security Administration (SSA) lists health conditions that qualify for disability benefits. Unfortunately, a heart attack is not among them, though you may still be eligible for disability benefits. Read on to find how.
Understanding the Facts and Myths
There are different myths surrounding heart attacks, such as;
Myth: Youngsters are not at risk of heart attack
Fact: The condition can affect anyone regardless of their age. The disease arises after plaque builds up in the arteries, narrowing them and hindering blood flow to the heart. Some factors that contribute to this include unhealthy eating, smoking, lack of exercise, or the presence of other health conditions such as high blood pressure. These are not age-related factors and can be present in any person, children and adults alike.
Myth: People who have had a heart attack should avoid exercise
Fact: Some people maintain that one should avoid exercise after suffering a heart attack, which is not true. Exercise is one of the recommended interventions for managing the condition, among others, such as eating a healthy diet, taking medication, and avoiding smoking. However, you should not commence exercise before your doctor’s approval.
Myths and Facts on Heart Attack as a Disability
In the same way, various myths surround heart attack as a disability. For instance;
Myth: Suffering a heart attack automatically qualifies you for disability benefits
Since Social Security Administration (SSA) qualifies many heart conditions for disability benefits and due to heart attack’s disabling nature, people tend to think the condition is covered. But it’s not.
However, even though the condition is not among the Blue Book listings, you may still receive benefits under certain circumstances. Generally, a heart attack may result from an existing condition such as ischemic heart disease, which is covered. This means you can apply for the benefits if you had preexisting Ischemic heart disease or any other covered condition.
Sometimes, you may qualify for benefits even if you do not have a Blue Book-listed condition. For example, if the attack causes disabling symptoms that prevent you from returning to work, you can apply to the SSA by presenting the relevant evidence.
Myth: Medical records are sufficient evidence for proving disability
The other myth is that people believe medical records are enough to prove a heart condition is disabling. On the contrary, the process of proving disability requires more than a doctor’s report.
It’s crucial to work closely with your doctor, journaling your pain and symptoms and sharing the same with them. Continous medical assessment forms a reliable medical history that can help SSA evaluate your condition more objectively.
However, in addition to the medical reports, you must convince the SSA that your disability hinders you from working, and the situation is unlikely to change for at least twelve months. For this reason, you should expect them to perform their assessment.
Contact a Lawyer for Help Navigating Your Claim
A heart attack may not qualify you for disability benefits automatically. Still, if it results in a disabling condition lasting for more than a year, you may be able to access the benefits by satisfying other requirements, as discussed above. Even then, they might reject your claim if it’s not strong enough. Insurers deny most disability claims. Nonetheless, you can improve your chances of acceptance by consulting a Boston disability lawyer to guide you through the process.