When you think of disabilities, you typically think of long-term conditions. For instance, a broken back may put you in a wheelchair for life, and it’s clear that you’re not going to recover — at least not to the point you were at before. You don’t have to question if this is a disability or not.
But what if you have a serious event that is not a long-term issue, such as a heart attack? It’s serious, but you get medical care right away and you pull through. Is there any way that this could be a disability for the purposes of Social Security Disability benefits?
Did the heart attack lead to other issues?
Generally speaking, you are not going to qualify as disabled for Social Security just because you had that initial heart attack. You may certainly miss some time at work as you recover, and that recovery may take longer than anticipated, but you should be able to return to work. Unlike workers’ compensation benefits, Social Security has no provision for temporary disability benefits.
One thing to consider, though, is if there are other issues that relate to that heart attack. For instance, maybe it reduced the oxygen flow to your brain. If this lasted even for a few minutes, it could cause cellular death and brain damage. This could leave you with cognitive or physical issues that are not going to heal, and they may qualify as a disability on those grounds. So could other chronic conditions related to your heart, like congestive heart failure.
What options do you have if you’re no longer able to work?
On the whole, people who have heart attacks often have a number of health issues. The key to winning a disability claim is to consider your entire medical position, not just your heart attack. Make sure you know exactly where you stand and what legal options you have if you will not be able to work again. If you’re having trouble getting your SSDI claim approved, it may be time to speak to an attorney.