A heart transplant is performed as a final treatment for heart failure. After a transplant, patients often face significant restrictions while they recover. Additionally, the conditions that cause heart failure are often debilitating, as any disability lawyer in Illinois could attest. Fortunately, Social Security Disability benefits may be available to assist people who have received heart transplants.
The Social Security Administration automatically recognizes heart transplant as a disabling condition. To secure benefits after many other transplant procedures, patients must document certain symptoms or restrictions. However, the SSA presumes that a heart transplant disables a person until one year after the date of the operation.
After one year, patients who have suffered lingering health problems may still qualify for SSD benefits. For example, anti-rejection medication may promote complications or serious diseases, including kidney damage and cancer. People who have suffered such complications may be able to continue receiving benefits based on these afflictions.
Although the SSA considers a heart transplant to be a disabling medical condition, every transplant patient is not guaranteed SSD benefits. A claim may be rejected if medical documentation is inadequate. Additionally, a transplant patient may be denied SSD benefits if the patient does not meet non-medical criteria.
Heart transplant patients may be eligible to receive Supplemental Security Income or Social Security Disability Insurance benefits. However, to collect either type of benefit, patients must meet the following financial criteria:
- To qualify for SSI disability benefits, patients must have limited income and resources.
- To receive SSDI benefits, patients must have enough recent earnings to qualify as insured. The amount of earnings needed depends on the patient’s age.
- To collect either benefit, patients cannot engage in substantial gainful activity. For most applicants, this is defined in 2015 as work with monthly income exceeding $1,090.
As any disability lawyer in Illinois would agree, people who don’t meet these criteria cannot receive benefits, regardless of their medical conditions.
If a heart transplant is rejected, patients may qualify for the Compassionate Allowances program. This program allows for expedited claim processing, and patients only need to provide basic medical documentation. This includes blood tests, imaging of the heart, reports from cardiology consultations and professional assessments of clinical findings.
Although the Compassionate Allowances program provides faster claim processing, it does not guarantee immediate approval. Patients with poorly documented claims may experience delays if the SSA needs to acquire further evidence. Furthermore, claim denial due to inadequate evidence or technical errors is always a possibility. Partnering with a disability lawyer in Illinois may help patients mitigate this risk.