According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), heart disease is the second most common reason for Americans to file a disability insurance claim. According to the CDC, about 805,000 people in the United States have a heart attack every year, and 605,000 are a first-time heart attack. To counter this, February is American Heart Month. Americans at all ages are encouraged to increase their activity levels, eat healthier food (with the possible exception of chocolates for Valentine’s Day), learn about the risk factors for heart disease and live a heart-healthy lifestyle as part of a life-long practice of self-care.

But what if your cardiovascular health is so bad you can’t work?

For most people, the financial solution is to file a claim with their long-term disability insurance company. Despite the seriousness of cardiovascular diseases, which includes coronary artery disease, ischemic heart disease or myocardial infarction, having a heart attack is not enough to qualify you for disability benefits.

To successfully apply for long term disability benefits for cardiac conditions including heart attacks, your claim will need to be backed up by robust medical documentation.

The disability insurance company will want to see medical records indicating the seriousness of the heart attack, how much damage was been done to the muscles and other structures of the heart and what the impact of the heart attack had on any other organs. Your claim will need to include any number of studies concerning the structure of your heart, blood flow throughout the body, and what type of cardiovascular surgery was performed or will be performed in the future. A cardiovascular claim is not limited to heart attacks. When the heart is not working properly, as in congestive heart failure, blood is not circulating normally, causing damage throughout the body. Damage can also occur to the arms and legs, known as PAD or peripheral artery disease, when arteries to the arms and legs are narrowed and blood flow is restricted. There are many different types of heart disease, and different degrees of severity, which is why the long-term disability insurance company will take a “no pay” stance on a cardiovascular claim until medical records are thoroughly reviewed, specific tasks of your occupation are examined and, as is typically the case, your claim will be denied because the insurance company deems you as capable of sedentary work.

How to Alleviate the Stress of a Cardiac Condition

Cardiac health is known to be linked to stress – the last thing a person with a cardiac condition needs. One way to lighten the burden is to retain an experienced disability insurance lawyer who can take the burden of dealing with the insurance company away from the disabled person so they can focus on self-care and managing their illness. Our law firm has represented many individuals who have found dealing with the disability insurance company to be too overwhelming and frankly, to exacerbate their stress level. Letters requesting more medical reports, doctor’s records and financial statements arrive and are too much to deal with. Our clients know we will manage all of the documentation and all of the details, so they don’t have to. For one of our clients, a 64 year old male with heart disease coupled with degenerative disc disease, our firm successfully reserved a denied disability claim from CIGNA. He was taking several medications daily and coping with extreme fatigue and back pain. While CIGNA claimed his cardiac findings were stabilized and denied his claim, his EF (ejection fraction of the heart) was subpar. The EF is a measurement of how much blood the left ventricle pumps out with each contraction, and a subpar EF can lead to serious health risks. Our disability law firm provided medical evidence and literature, evidence of co-morbid conditions and prior court rulings to support our client’s claim that he was not able to perform the material duties of his occupation. Frankel & Newfield overturned CIGNA’s claim denial, and he is now on claim and able to focus on protecting his health.

If you have a cardiovascular disability and would benefit from having experienced professionals handle your disability claim, we invite you to call our office and learn how we can help.

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