Over 92 million people in the United States have some form of cardiovascular disease, including coronary heart disease (CHD). CHD is the result of the build-up of plaque inside the coronary arteries, which provide blood to the heart. The plaque narrows the artery and reduces the amount of blood getting to the heart. Reduced blood flow also means a reduction in oxygen reaching the heart which may result in a heart attack. Due to the high number of people affected by the disease, disability for a heart condition is a boon to many individuals and families.
It’s important to note that the presence of coronary heart disease, a heart attack, or a coronary bypass is not a guarantee of eligibility for long-term disability benefits. Insurance companies don’t determine eligibility based on a particular condition, their decisions are based on the level of the claimant’s impairments and ability to work and carry out daily activities.
If you have long-term disability benefits through your employer or a disability policy you purchased from an independent agent, you may qualify for benefits related to your CHD. Objective medical evidence carries the most weight with insurance companies. They may request a physical examination in addition to those of your physician.
You may already be aware of the most common symptoms of heart disease: chest pain or tightness and shortness of breath. Individuals with CHD may also experience pain in the left arm, jaw, neck, or back. When you submit a claim for disability for a heart condition, the insurance company will evaluate your claim based partially on your symptoms. Here are other symptoms that CHD sufferers experience.
These symptoms can help you build a strong case in support of your claim application for long-term disability benefits.
Describing the physical symptoms you experience as a result of CHD is an important part of your disability claim. Equally important is documentation of your diagnosis, your medical history, and the treatment you received for your coronary heart disease. Your insurance company will examine your medical records closely when making a claims determination. It’s best to be prepared.
Your application should include a history of your CHD over a long period of time. Contents should include your medical history, lab tests, physical exams, results of specialized tests such as a stress test (ECG), statements from your physician or cardiologist, and treatment you received or are receiving.
Explain how your CHD impairs your ability to function on a day-to-day basis. In addition to listing your symptoms, be specific about how each symptom affects your lifestyle and your activity level. Examples include difficulty walking for a certain distance, shortness of breath after minor exertion, fatigue, etc.
An RFC report will measure how your CHD impairs your ability to work. It will contain information about the level of activity you can maintain over a long period of time, limitations or restrictions related to work activities such as sitting, standing, walking, pushing, carrying, or lifting.
For example, if you cannot walk or stand for more than 1 hour per 8-hour shift, or if lifting a certain amount of weight leaves you breathless, you should include this information. Be as specific as possible about the way CHD affects your ability to work. Based on your RFC report, the claims adjuster will determine if there are any jobs you can perform. These jobs may not be the same type of work you previously performed. They want to determine if you can do any type of work.
Sometimes despite your best efforts and preparation, the insurance company makes a bad call or a downright unfair decision and will deny your claim for disability related to a heart condition. If that happens, you can appeal their decision. Hiring an experienced and reputable disability attorney to help you build an appeals case.
Get expert advice. Whether you’re preparing to file or appealing a denial of your claim for disability for a heart condition, CJ Henry Law Firm, PLLC can help.