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Obtaining SSD benefits for heart diseases

Last week, we wrote that the Social Security Administration had added 12 heart diseases to its list of Social Security Disability Compassionate Allowances, with the changes set to take effect on August 1. Because they are now designated as such, those who suffer from cardiovascular system ailments such such as aortic atresia, mitral valve atresia, tricuspid atresia, endomyocardial fibrosis, and heart transplant graft failure, among others, will likely have their SSD applications processed more quickly and receive benefits more easily.

Although the burden on heart disease sufferers has been lessened, SSD applicants should ensure that they are still fulfilling all application requirements in order to avoid unnecessary delays. The inclusion of heart disease on the Compassionate Allowances list allows applicants to skip one step in their application: a report of their complete employment history. However, there are several additional requirements that applicants must fulfill in order to receive benefits.

First, applicants must provide financial and personal information, including tax returns and W-2 forms, bank information, and military discharge forms. Second, applicants must provide documentation and other evidence of their disease or disability, in the form of medical records detailing the dates of treatment and all treatment providers, all medical testing and any and all prescribed medications.

In providing medical history, applicants must demonstrate that their disease renders them unable to perform duties that are normally required for employment. If approved, they will receive a monthly stipend equal to a percentage - usually less than half - of their former income.

If applicants are denied benefits, they may appeal the SSA's decision. Because this can be a long and tedious process, applicants are urged to seek the assistance of a Social Security Disability attorney when doing so.

Source: EmpowHER.com, "Heart Disease and Social Security Disability," Mary Kyle, 18 July 2011

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