The Social Security Administration (SSA) has been charged with administering the federal government programs aimed at offering financial assistance to those who can no longer work due to disability.
To help with this process, the SSA developed a list of medical impairments considered severe enough to potentially prevent someone from working. This document is often referred to as the “Blue Book.”
The Blue Book, once a paper manual that was blue in color, is now available as an online resource. Patients, healthcare professionals, SSA employees, and attorneys often refer to the Blue Book when deciding whether or not an individual meets the medical criteria to be deemed disabled by Social Security standards.
How Can I Qualify for Disability Benefits with a Heart Attack?
While having a heart attack, or myocardial infarction (MI), is a scary and life-threatening event, it does not necessarily mean automatic approval for disability benefits.
The SSA requires that all conditions last, or be expected to last, for a period of one year. While a heart attack can cause long-term cardiac damage, some individuals can recover within a relatively short period of time.
There is not a designated section of the Blue Book that addresses heart attacks. Whether or not you can be approved for Social Security Disability (SSDI) benefits for your heart attack depends on the cause of your cardiac injury, as well as any long-term damage caused by your MI. There are several listings in the cardiac section of the Blue Book, 4.00, that might apply to your specific heart-related issue.
For example, if the cause of your heart attack is related to a recurrent cardiac arrhythmia, you might meet the listing in section 4.05. According to the Blue Book, those who have uncontrolled, recurrent episodes of cardiac syncope may qualify for disability benefits.
In cases where coronary artery disease causes a heart attack, a patient might meet listing 4.04, ischemic heart disease. Individuals with coronary artery disease who can demonstrate narrowing of coronary arteries shown by angiography may qualify for SSDI benefits.
For some individuals, a heart attack results in chronic heart failure. These individuals might meet the multiple criteria listed in the ischemic heart disease section, 4.02, of the Blue Book.
What Medical Evidence Do I Need for My Heart Attack Claim?
In addition to listing the impairments that might qualify an individual for disability benefits, the Blue Book also includes the medical evidence and documentation needed to support a claim.
According to the Blue Book, the SSA requires a detailed history, physical examination, and laboratory studies. For individuals who have had a heart attack, the SSA will want to see cardiac enzymes lab findings, EKGs, records of any treatments such as catheterization lab records or stent placements.
Further, an individual seeking disability benefits will need to illustrate what prescribed treatment that they have received, as well as any response to that treatment.
A longitudinal record covering a period of at least three months of observations and treatments is typically necessary to make a disability determination for cardiac cases.
Therefore, if you have suffered a heart attack, the SSA will obtain more evidence for three months following the event before they evaluate the impairment. However, if there is enough information to make a determination on the current evidence of the case, all efforts will be made to do so.
Should I Hire A Lawyer to Help Me with My Heart Attack Claim?
If you have suffered from a heart attack and are unable to work as a result, the Social Security disability program could be of assistance to you. However, as there is no specific listing for a heart attack in the Blue Book, obtaining benefits for a heart attack requires additional thought when preparing your application.
A Social Security lawyer is skilled at reviewing the medical evidence that you have on hand and determining what strategic route to take to help you win your claim.