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Can a person receive SSD benefits after a heart transplant?

It is not uncommon these days for a person in Michigan with a serious disease to experience organ failure that necessitates a transplant. Transplants are particularly important when a person is suffering from heart disease. A heart transplant is a serious operation that could have long-lasting effects. Therefore, it may be necessary for heart transplant recipients to pursue Social Security disability benefits. What will the Social Security Administration consider when a person applies for benefits after a heart transplant?

Heart transplant recipients should be made aware that post-transplant, the Social Security Administration, in general, will consider the recipient to be disabled for 12 months. This is due to the fact that during that time period, there is a significant likelihood that the recipient's body will reject the organ.

That being said, heart transplant recipients usually meet the requirements for disability, per the Social Security Administration's definition, prior to the transplant operation. Each case will be examined individually on its merits. However, just because a person is put on a waiting list for a heart transplant does not automatically make him or her disabled. This is because a person may be put on a waiting list as soon as possible, since it could take a long time for a donor to be found.

After being awarded benefits, the Social Security Administration may perform a periodic review to determine whether the heart transplant recipient still suffers from a disability. The review will include an evaluation of the recipient's residual impairments. Such impairments can be demonstrated by lab results, signs and symptoms for cardiac dysfunction. Side effects of medication also will be taken into account.

It is important for recipients of heart transplants to receive the ongoing medical treatment that they need. Their activities may be severely limited for months or years, including the ability to ever go back to work. When this happens, it may be necessary for the heart transplant recipient to seek SSD benefits.

Source: Social Security, "4.00 Cardiovascular System - Adult," accessed April 26, 2015

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