Do you know the leading cause of death for Americans?
If you guessed heart disease, then you’re correct. Heart disease and conditions are the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States. In fact, 1 in 4 deaths are caused by heart disease every year.
Heart disease disability is also one of the leading causes of disability in the nation.
However, there is good news! Heart disease is often preventable with healthy choices and properly managing your health conditions. If you have a heart disease disability, you may qualify for heart disease and disability benefits through the Social Security Administration (SSA).
Since February is American Heart Month, it’s a perfect time to read up on ways you can be involved in heart healthy activities and spreading awareness about heart disease throughout the month, as well as the qualifications for receiving heart disease disability benefits.
What is American Heart Month?
The month of February is American Heart Month. Sponsored by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, American Heart Month spreads awareness about heart disease and how it can be prevented, whether at home or in the community. With various educational activities and initiatives throughout the month, American Heart Month’s goal is to remind people to take care of their heart and consider risk factors that can lead to heart disease.
American Heart Month History
American Heart Month can trace its beginnings to the 1960s with President Lyndon B. Johnson. To combat the rising levels of heart disease in the United States, President Johnson declared February 1964 to be the first American Heart Month. Since then, the month has helped spread awareness of heart health and heart disease risk.
American Heart Month Activities
There are a variety of activities throughout American Heart Month! Here is a list of activities and ways to get involved.
Join the #OurHearts Initiative. Interested in helping your friends, family, and community embrace heart health? Share it on social media! Learn ways about how to be heart friendly together here.
National Wear Red Day. Join organizations around the country on the first Friday of February by wearing red! Besides clothing, you can help promote awareness of heart disease with stickers, posters, and posting on social media.
Get Involved! American Heart Month has a variety of resources to use in your community, including PowerPoint slides, social media posts, heart disease prevention fact sheets, and so much more.
American Heart Month Facts
Keep your heart health in mind with these facts about healthy habits and heart disease.
- As little as 60 minutes of moderate exercise a week can significantly help your heart.
- Heart disease is nothing new; archeologists have found evidence of heart disease in Egyptian mummies.
- Researchers have found that more heart attacks occur on Mondays than any other day of the week.
- Though heart disease can start while you’re young, age is the biggest risk factor.
What is a Heart Disease Disability?
It’s important to not only highlight heart disease during American Heart Month but also heart disease disability. Heart conditions are a leading source of disability in the United States; if severe enough, some heart conditions can prevent you from working full time. If a coronary condition limits your ability to exert yourself enough to prevent you from working full-time, or at all, you may qualify for disability. Some common coronary conditions include:
Heart Attack Disability
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), around 735,000 Americans experience a heart attack every year. Each recurring heart attack compounds further coronary damage. While a heart attack by itself does not qualify as a heart disease disability for Social Security benefits, repeated heart attacks can lead to more serious heart conditions, such as heart failure and coronary disease, that may qualify.
Enlarged Heart Disability
An enlarged heart disability, also known as cardiomegaly, is when the heart muscles become enlarged due to damage from conditions such as inflammation, high blood pressure, and coronary artery disease. This causes the heart to pump less blood, making the person affected tire easily and have trouble exerting. Cardiomegaly can range from minor to severe, depending on how much blood is able to be pumped. Depending on its severity, an enlarged heart may qualify as a heart disease disability.
Disability After Heart Surgery
Due to the invasiveness of heart surgery, certain procedures are labeled as a disability. For example, a person with a heart transplant is considered disabled for a year following their surgery. After the year, they may still be considered disabled depending on their condition and occupation.
What Heart Problems Qualify for Disability?
There are a variety of cardiovascular conditions that qualify for heart disease and disability benefits through the SSA. When determining whether or not a heart disease disability qualifies for benefits, the SSA focuses on whether your ability to exercise or work is limited by your heart condition rather than the heart problem itself.
To qualify for heart disease disability benefits, various tests will be used such as exercise tests, EKGs, and cardiac imaging to determine if your heart has a limited ability to pump blood or if your heart’s muscles are not getting enough blood.
These conditions meet the SSA’s impairment listings to qualify for heart disease disability benefits:
- Congestive heart failure
- Coronary heart failure
- Recurrent arrhythmias
- Aneurysm of aorta or other major heart branches
- Symptomatic congenital heart disease
- Chronic venous insufficiency
- Peripheral arterial disease
- Heart transplant
Depending on their severity, there are other cardiovascular conditions that may qualify for benefits as well.
Need Help Applying for a Heart Disease Disability?
If you’re living with a heart disease disability or a cardiovascular condition that may qualify for benefits and applying for the first time or filing an appeal, contact the Disability Experts of Florida. Applications can be difficult - we will work with you through the application process to get you the support - and the disability benefits - that you deserve.