disability for afib

All You Need to Know Before Applying for AFib Disability Benefits

Many people who suffer from atrial fibrillation, more commonly known as AFib, have trouble continuing with their jobs but still need to sustain themselves and their families. When your condition becomes a disability, it is time to seek help. The Social Security Administration (SSA) offers two types of financial benefit programs that may help those with AFib disability.

What Is AFib?

AFib occurs when the heart’s upper chambers do not coordinate with the lower chambers. The resulting rapid or irregular heart rate can lead to strokes, heart failure, and several other heart complications.

AFib is not always a life-threatening disease, but it can be fatal if not treated properly.

Types of AFib:

    • Occasional AFib: This is when the symptoms are episodic, lasting for a few minutes to a couple of hours. There may be repeated episodes in quick succession, or there may be intervals during which the person is perfectly fine, with AFib occurring only once every several days. The symptoms may vanish without treatment in some cases.
    • Persistent AFib: When your heart is functioning irregularly and the state of AFib is continuous, you are considered to have persistent AFib. This requires medical interventions and medications to restore the heart’s normal rhythm.
    • Long-standing persistent AFib: This is when a person with persistent AFib has symptoms for at least 12 months.
    • Permanent AFib: A person suffering from this kind of AFib will never be able to get a normal heart rhythm. The patient has to take medications to control the heart rate and prevent clots.
    • Symptoms of AFib includes:
      • Heart palpitations
      • Shortness of breath
      • Weakness
      • Fatigue
      • Dizziness
      • Chest pain
      • lightheadedness

AFib can lead to blood clots within the heart’s upper chambers, which circulate to other organs, eventually blocking blood flow.

  • Potential causes for AFib include:

    • having high blood pressure
    • previously having suffered a heart attack
    • having coronary disease
    • being born with heart defects
    • having an overactive thyroid
    • having a metabolic imbalance
    • taking stimulants
    • having sick sinus syndrome
    • having lung ailments
    • undergoing previous heart interventions
    • viral infections
    • sleep apnea

Is AFib a Disability?

People suffering from AFib condition may not be able to work their full-time jobs. If that is the case, they can may be eligible for disability benefits for AFib.

If a disability benefits claimant is unable to work for at least a year because of AFib, they will have to provide ample proof to the SSA to qualify for benefits. As part of the documentation, the applicant will need to prove that they can no longer work because of AFib and perform the normal functions of their job.

If your AFib condition prevents you from working a full-time job and earning a living, it can then be considered a disability for which you may be eligible to receive SSA disability benefits. The SSA considers specific medical criteria when reviewing an application to determine an individual’s eligibility for atrial fibrillation disability benefits.

Can You Get Disability for AFib?

If your AFib condition does not meet the requirements as presented within the SSA’s official list of disabilities that qualify for the benefits, then your application may be rejected. The SSA evaluates applications based on the Blue Book criteria. If the SSA approves you for the disability benefits, there is a chance that your spouse and children be eligible for the benefits, as well.

When you complete your application to seek disability benefits, there will be a list of required documentation that you have to present along with the application. The application needs to be complete and accurate because any errors can cost you your eligibility for disability benefits for AFib.

Your SSA application should provide the following information, along with medical records that document your disability and limitations:

  • the educational qualifications of the applicant
  • the work history of the applicant

It is also essential to include medical reports, treatment details, and test results if your AFib worsens after you initially submit your disability benefits application to the SSA. The additional information may enable your application to process faster and increase the likelihood that you are approved because you are further demonstrating your need for assistance.

The Importance of Medical Documentation to Support the Need for AFib Disability Benefits

A disability benefits applicant is required to show clinical testing of their condition three times in a specified 12-month period, along with any other medical records that support the claim. In particular, the documents should mention a connection between one’s fainting spells and their having AFib.

The doctor should certify that the AFib medical condition causes:

  • uncontrolled arrhythmia
  • fainting episodes
  • persisting symptoms despite medical interventions

The doctor has to give a detailed form containing:

  • your impairments due to AFib
  • related symptoms
  • physical and mental abilities 
  • limitations caused by AFib
  • the number of hospitalizations related to AFib

Can You Apply for Disability Benefits for AFib Without a Lawyer?

When you apply for disability, there is extensive paperwork involved, including complex documentation requirements. Getting approved for benefits may take years because of how often the SSA rejects initial applications. The process often requires multiple denials and appeals before benefits are approved.

Even if all of your paperwork is in order and you fulfil the eligibility requirements for AFib disability, your claim may not get approval. Hiring a lawyer can speed up your case and help you secure your well-deserved Social Security disability benefits. Your lawyer’s support can help ensure that your paperwork is complete when you apply for the disability benefits. The lawyer can also represent you in hearings, and you would only need to pay a fee on a contingency basis once you are approved for the benefits.

AFib is listed as a disability in the Blue Book. Knowing about AFib and working with an experienced lawyer may improve your chances of getting approved for Social Security disability benefits.