The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. It estimates that 18.2 million adults have coronary artery disease, which is the most common type of heart disease.
Depending upon its severity and how it affects a person, heart disease could make it difficult or impossible to continue working at a job or earning a living through self-employment. If heart disease prevents you from working, you may be eligible to receive a long term disability benefit either through a private insurance plan or through Social Security disability.
What is long-term disability?
Disability insurance, whether purchased on your own or provided by an employer, replaces a portion of the income lost when an illness or injury prevents you from working. Short-term disability pays benefits for temporary interruption of your ability to work over a brief duration. Long-term disability policies provide coverage when you have severe injuries or an illness expected to keep you from working for years to come.
Another source of long-term disability benefits is Social Security Disability. SSD pays benefits to workers whose medical condition causes them to be disabled for at least 12 months or result in death. Workers with disabling medical conditions of a shorter duration may be eligible for state-mandated disability programs or short-term disability insurance policies.
Types of heart disease
“Heart disease” refers to types of medical conditions that cause a person’s heart to no longer function properly. The heart is a muscle that pumps blood throughout the body using a network of veins and arteries. Various types of heart disease may affect the ability of the heart to function or damage the network through which blood flows.
Common types of heart disease include the following:
- 1). Coronary artery disease: When fat and calcium deposits accumulate on artery walls, it causes a thickening and hardening that restricts the flow of blood, which in turn affects the ability of the heart to properly function. The result may be a stroke or heart attack.
- 2). Arrhythmias: A characteristic of a healthy heart is a steady rhythmic beating, but heart rhythm disorders may cause it to beat faster, slower or in an irregular pattern, which can disrupt the flow of blood. Arrhythmias have been associated with an increased risk of strokes and heart attacks.
- 3). Structural abnormalities: Abnormalities of the heart may affect its walls, valves and other parts of the organ. Whether caused by wear and tear, medications, infections or genetics, structural abnormalities may cause strokes, heart attacks or heart failure.
- 4). Heart failure: Damage or weakening of the heart, as may be caused by a heart attack or high blood pressure, affects its ability to function. Damage may be so severe as to be irreversible and result in failure of the heart.
If diagnosed with heart disease that restricts or prevents you from engaging in work and other activities associated with everyday life, you may be eligible for a heart disease disability benefit.
Proving eligibility for long-term disability
To qualify for disability benefits through a long-term disability policy or through Social Security disability, the severity and frequency of the symptoms and how they affect your ability to engage in work-related activities are important. Some of the symptoms of heart disease that may limit your activities include the following:
- 1). Pain
- 2). Fatigue and weakness
- 3). Shortness of breath
- 4). Swelling of the hands, ankles and feet
- 5). Dizziness and fainting
Doctors use a combination of clinical examination along with various diagnostic tests to diagnose the type of heart disease and its severity, including:
- A). Blood tests
- B). Electrocardiogram or EKG
- C). Echocardiogram
- D). Cardiac catheterization
- E). Specialized CT scans and MRIs
- F). Stress tests
- G). X-rays
All of the tests and examinations contained in your medical records help to prove that you have heart disease and the extent of damage caused by it. The medical evidence must be consistent with the symptoms that your long-term disability lawyer claims prevent you from performing the tasks required of your job or self-employment.
Your lawyer may decide to supplement the examination notes and diagnostic testing results with a letter or report from your treating physician. A report from your doctor can include details about how the clinical findings and symptoms limit your activities and prevent you from engaging in the types of activities required to work at a job.
A long-term disability lawyer can help
A free consultation with a long-term disability lawyer at London Eligibility may offer options that you may not have realized were available to provide the financial assistance needed when heart disease prevents you from working. A review of your claim by our disability lawyer can determine whether a disability benefit through one of the Social Security disability programs may be a heart disease disability benefit option available to you. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.