SSDI a Useful Resource for Workers Disabled by Heart Disease

Coronary heart disease is the number one killer of Americans, accounting for one million deaths each year. A heart disease diagnosis can be crippling to someone whose family relies on his or her income to make ends meet. Often, heart disease renders a patient unable to work due to the strain it puts on its victim's everyday life.

A heart condition does not necessarily lead to economic ruin, however. There are financial resources available to people with heart disease, and one of the most beneficial is Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI).

SSDI is income available to people who have worked long enough to accumulate funds in the Social Security system but have acquired a disability that keeps them from working. Heart disease and its related conditions are just some of the many disabilities that SSDI covers. Applicants for SSDI face a rather complex process, but once approved, SSDI can provide benefits totaling 30 to 59 percent of a disabled worker's prior income.

Requirements: SSD and Heart Disease

The first requirement is that the applicant's disability must be covered by SSDI. Fortunately, heart disease is considered a cardiovascular system disability by the Social Security Administration (SSA). Applicants have to prove that their illness is serious enough to prevent them from working. This is done by providing evidence in the form of medical history, lab reports and documentation of symptoms and attempted treatments. Generally, applicants need to show that their condition prevents them from working and will cause their death within a year or persist for longer than a year.

Other, non-medical requirements include age and the amount of time an applicant has paid into the system. In order to receive Social Security disability for diabetes, an applicant must be under the age of 65 and have accumulated 20 Social Security credits. A typical worker earns four credits for each year he or she works, so the average SSDI applicant will need to have worked at least five years in order to receive Social Security disability benefits.

Unfortunately, SSDI benefits are not immediate and payments are not sent until six months from the time an application is approved. However, if a heart disease patient's illness is severe enough to clearly prevent him or her from working, the SSA has a fast-track option known as a compassionate allowance, or CAL. CAL funds are typically available within 20 days of applying for benefits and can meet an immediate need for funds. This July, the SSA added 12 heart disease-related conditions to the CAL list of eligible disabilities.

Since the SSDI application process is so complex, it may help to seek the advice of an experienced SSDI attorney who understands the nuances of the process. Though heart disease may prevent someone from working, with SSDI, people with heart disease are not left without financial resources.