A heart transplant is a surgery that involves the removal and replacement of a diseased heart with a healthier one. It is a complicated open heart surgery often reserved for patients whose medications have failed. Patients will get heart transplants if they suffer (1) cardiomyopathy (2) heart valve disease (3) congenital heart defects (4) congenital heart defects (5) amyloidosis. Doctors ensure that patients are placed under general anesthesia before surgery. The operation begins with the creation of an incision in the chest for easy assess to operate on the heart. He separates the chest bones and rib cage to make extraction possible. After extraction, the healthier, donor heart is sewn into place with the major blood vessels attached to restore blood flow. Doctors often recommend strong follow up after surgery. Patients stay in the intensive care unit for a day or two after surgery, and in the regular hospital room for a week or more. Close monitoring is needed to look out for signs of rejection and response to medication hence patients often have to remain in proximity to the hospital for some months. Patients will undergo tests like echocardiograms, electrocardiograms, and biopsies to check for any anomalies. They are also given several medications to help with the pain and reduce the activity of the immune system; reducing the activity of the immune system decreases the chances of rejection. Because the body will almost always reject a new organ like the heart, some medications are used for a lifetime (such as immunosuppressants).
Qualifying for Social Security Disability Benefits with Heart transplant
A heart transplant is a complicated procedure that requires patients to remain out of work for some time, the resultant lack of income and financial security is often devastating for patients. However, Social Security provides disability benefits to patients who intend to, are undergoing or have undergone a heart transplant. The Social Security offers benefits to disabled persons through (1) Social Security Disability Insurance (2) Supplemental Security Income. While the former is reserved for people who have earned a certain amount of work credits, the latter offers financial assistance to disabled individuals who earn very little income. As aforementioned, heart transplant is a complex process which can often result in several complications like (1) primary graft dysfunction (2) Cardiac allograft vasculopathy (3) Hyperacute rejection (4) Acute rejection (5) Kidney damage; among others. A patient who suffers a donor heart rejection or intends to undergo another heart surgery automatically qualifies for a compassionate allowance with the SSA. The Compassionate allowance allows for expedited processing of a patient’s claim; patients can receive benefits in as little as 20 days. Presumptive disability benefits are reserved for patients whose impairments (probably due to failure or rejection) are expected to cause death in less than a year (6 months precisely). It allows patients receive SSI benefits while the SSA examines their case. The SSA lists heart transplants (in section 4.09 of the Blue Book) as one of the conditions that qualify for disability benefits. The SSA automatically considers a patient to be disabled one year following the operation; in other words, patients only qualify for benefits for a period of one year. Thereafter, the SSA makes another evaluation to determine if the patient qualifies for continuing benefits. Qualifying for continuing benefits means the patient must the requirements for the disease which led to a heart transplant in the first place. It is important for patients to gather all relevant medical and nonmedical documents needed to support their claim.
Qualifying for benefits under Residual Functional Capacity
If a patient fails to meet the blue book requirement for his condition he may still qualify for benefits under Residual Functional Capacity. The SSA uses RFC to determine a patient’s condition is functionally equivalent to that in the blue book. If his impairment prevents him from carrying out any meaningful job, the SSA will approve him for benefits. It is advisable to get legal assistance during this process.