1. Social Security Disability
  2. /
  3. What Medical Conditions Qualify For Social Security Disability?
  4. /
  5. Transplantation of the Heart and Social Security Disability

Transplantation of the Heart and Social Security Disability

What is a Heart Transplant?

Heart transplantation is a surgical procedure in which a defective heart is removed and replaced with a healthy heart from a deceased donor in order to improve your quality of life and lengthen your life.

The majority of heart transplants are performed on patients who have advanced heart failure, a condition in which the heart is significantly damaged or weakened, and on patients who have failed to respond to previous treatment choices. End-stage heart failure can be caused by coronary artery disease, viral infections, or inherited disorders. In rare cases, patients with severe heart and lung illness may receive a heart transplant concurrently with a lung transplant.

Heart transplantation carries several dangers. Primary transplant dysfunction occurs when the donor heart is unable to function properly. This is the leading cause of death in the first month following transplantation. Additionally, your immune system may reject your new heart. Within six months of the transplant, rejection is most likely. For the remainder of your life, you will need to take medications to suppress your immune system and aid in the rejection of your replacement heart by your body. These medications impair your immune system and increase your likelihood of contracting an infection. Their prolonged usage can also increase your risk of developing cancer, induce diabetes and osteoporosis, and cause renal damage. Vasculopathy of the cardiac allograft is a common and dangerous complication of heart transplantation. Cardiac allograft vasculopathy is a severe form of atherosclerosis that can quickly obstruct the arteries of the heart and cause the donor heart to fail. Your new heart may eventually fail for the same reasons that your previous heart did. Certain people who have had a failed heart transplant may be eligible for another.

Despite these concerns, heart transplantation has a high success rate that has improved significantly over the course of several decades of research. Recent survival rates are approximately 85 percent one year following surgery, declining by approximately three to four percent each additional year due to significant complications. Mechanical circulatory assistance, e.g., via left ventricular assist devices, may be an option in lieu of heart transplantation. Additional research, however, is necessary to determine the long-term survival rates of these innovative devices.

How to Apply for Social Security Disability Benefits if You Have a Heart Transplant Diagnosis

The Social Security Administration’s (SSA) impairment listing handbook (often referred to as the “Blue Book”) lists heart transplantation as one of the numerous transplants that qualify for disability. While the majority of the conditions described in this manual have extremely detailed diagnostic criteria that must be met in order to qualify for benefits, heart transplant is a rare exception; it is simply listed as a qualifying condition. The assumption is that a person who requires a heart transplant already has a weakened state of health to the degree where disability benefits are justified.

According to the Blue Book’s criteria, the recipient of a heart transplant should be considered incapacitated for a period of 12 months following the surgery. Following that, the case should be assessed for any lasting effects of the surgery. For instance, if the immunosuppressive medicine used to prevent donor heart rejection causes kidney damage (which is a possible side effect of some of these medications), the disability case would be examined based on the kidney condition beginning one year after surgery.

As previously stated, the recipient of a heart transplant (or any other organ, for that matter) will be very susceptible to infection as a result of the anti-rejection drug. While the majority of these illnesses pose minimal threat to a healthy immune system, they can be potentially fatal to someone whose natural defense is impaired. As a result, such infections must be continuously monitored and actively treated.

After a heart transplant, you may be eligible for disability benefits.

If you recently underwent a heart transplant or suffer from heart transplant-related problems, you may be eligible for Social Security Disability benefits. Due to the fact that the disease must be advanced to meet the qualifying criteria, it is vital to maintain adequate documentation in the exhibit file. As a result, it would be prudent to consult with a Social Security Disability attorney regarding your particular situation.

There are professionals who make a living doing this. It can save you time and reduce the danger of making errors in your application, which could result in its denial. Fill out a free evaluation form to determine your eligibility for Social Security Disability benefits and contact a Social Security Disability attorney immediately!