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Heart disease is severe but still denied SSDI benefits?

It is estimated that up to one in three workers will become disabled before they reach retirement age. Common disabling health conditions include back pain, heart disease, cancer, depression, diabetes and arthritis. Recently on our disability forum a user asked, “Why do so many claimants with common disabilities such as heart disease get denied Social Security Disability Insurance? I thought all you needed to do was apply for benefits?” financial-problems-and-disability-benefits

Denied for SSDI benefits

  A common misconception many people have when applying for disability benefits is that the process works like it does for Social Security retirement benefits: apply and the SSA will automatically send you a disability check. Claimants who are disabled with severe health conditions such as heart disease and back issues are shocked to find out that when they apply for benefits there is a 70% chance they will be denied. Not only that, but they may also need to hire a disability lawyer to help them get benefits, be denied and again and again, and ultimately never win benefits.

Common Conditions such as heart disease that Cause Disability

  If you have any of the disabling health conditions listed above such as heart disease there are some common steps you can take to improve your chances for receiving SSDI benefits.
  1. Review the nonmedical requirements for SSDI.
Before you submit your SSDI application for any disability such as heart disease or back issues it is important to make sure you meet the nonmedical criteria. The SSA will not even review your medical condition or condition the severity of your heart disease if you do not have enough work credits to be ensured for SSDI, if you are making too much money, if you are working too many hours, or if your condition will not last at least 12 continuous months.
  1. Understand the SSDI disability process.
Hundreds of applicants submit their SSDI application without the faintest notion of what they are trying to prove to the SSA. In fact, most applicants have no idea what criteria the SSA will use to determine if they are disabled. So how do you know if you are disabled for heart disease or any other health condition? There are five questions the SSA will review to make this determination. First, they will review the nonmedical requirements outlined above. Are you working? According to the SSA, if you are working in 2015 and your earnings average more than $1,090 a month, you generally cannot be considered disabled. Next, they will determine if your condition is severe. Severity is described as a condition which “interferes with basic work-related activities.” Next, they will review if your condition, such as heart disease, is found on the list of disabling conditions. Next, if your condition is not on the list or is not as severe as a listed condition they will determine if you can perform work you have previously done. Finally, they will determine if you could retrain for new work given your condition, such as heart disease. It is not unusual for many claimants to be denied on step five of the evaluation process. If you are denied at this point the SSA believes that given your medical conditions and your age, education, past work experience and any transferable skills you may have that you can retrain for new work.

What do I need to do to win my case?

  Assuming you meet the nonmedical requirements listed above but you are still denied disability benefits you will need to gather more medical evidence to prove your case. If the SSA claims your condition such as heart disease allows you to work another job you will need information about your limitations and what you can and cannot do.  

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