Filing for Social Security Disability with a Heart Transplant Diagnosis

| July 22, 2015

You have just received the worst news of your life.

Until last week, you felt extraordinarily healthy for your age. So healthy in fact that you hadn’t consulted a doctor in years. That was a big mistake. Last week, you had chest pains for the first time in your life. After rushing to the hospital, you had one test after another. You were concerned, but couldn’t believe the diagnosis: you will eventually need a heart transplant.

You were so shocked by the news that you had no idea what to do. You went to work and asked your boss if you could speak to someone in the company who was knowledgeable about health insurance. The individual informed you that your health insurance plan would cover most of your expenses, but she also suggested that you seek Social Security disability benefits.

Are you qualified to collect disability benefits from the Social Security program? Your doctors told you that you had heart disease, but they also told you that you could still work. In fact, they told you that you might not need a transplant for more than a year.

Needing heart surgery leads to filing a disability claim

What Should You Do?

There is no general answer for the above question. Your specific medical condition determines whether you are more likely to collect Social Security disability benefits because you need a heart transplant. The Social Security Administration specifically addresses the issue on its website.

“We will not assume that you became disabled when your name was placed on a transplant waiting list,” the Social Security Administration reports in one of its “Disability Evaluation Under Social Security” online fact sheets. “This is because you may be placed on a waiting list soon after diagnosis of the cardiac disorder that may eventually require a transplant. Physicians recognize that candidates for transplantation often have to wait months or even years before a suitable donor heart is found, so they place their patients on the list as soon as permitted.”

That paragraph sounds scary, doesn’t it? It’s one of many reasons why someone who is seeking Social Security disability benefits should consider seeking an attorney. There are many attorneys around the nation that have experience representing people with all kinds of disabilities.

You have never filled out an application before or had your case heard by a Social Security Administration administrative law judge, the Social Security Appeals Council, or a federal court. Many law firms have. In Athens, Georgia, Morgan & Morgan Attorneys at Law P.C. has more than 50 years of experience helping people who need Social Security disability benefits.

Let an Attorney Help You

Your doctors told you that you could still work. Can you? Should you? The Social Security Administration has a five-step process that determines whether you will collect disability benefits.

Perhaps, your doctors don’t understand the kind of work you do. Perhaps, your employer doesn’t understand the severity of your condition. An attorney might be able to help you persuade your doctors and employer that working is too risky — and get them to file written statements that will be part of your application or testify on your behalf. An attorney might also be able to find other doctors who disagree with your doctors’ conclusion that you can still work.

Proving you are disabled because you need a transplant is crucial because “heart transplant patients generally meet our definition of disability before they undergo transplantation” but “we will determine the onset of your disability based on the facts in your case,” the “Disability Evaluation Under Social Security” fact sheet reports. In other words, you might be able to get benefits long before your transplant, but you also might have to wait for several months or longer. A good attorney can help you get the benefits sooner rather than later.

Morgan & Morgan Attorneys at Law P.C. can reduce the amount of time it takes for you to get Social Security disability benefits by doing everything it can to make sure that you are among the one-third of the applicants whose initial claim is accepted. It can also make an appeals process far less cumbersome. Please call our Athens, Ga.-based office at 706-237-8438 or contact us via our website so we can help you.

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