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You had a heart attack and also had severe problems following the attack. For example, you get chest pain when you exert yourself and you need to sleep for two hours every afternoon. Due to your problems, you can’t work and you want to know if you qualify for SSDI and SSI benefits. It is a good question. And the answer depends on whether your heart condition impacts your ability to function on the job.

While a heart attack can be a serious event that prevents you from working. Some people will recover within a reasonable time and be able to resume their normal activities. Other people, however, have heart disease and physical symptoms which keep them from working. If you cannot work, then you have the right to apply for SSDI and SSI benefits. Additionally, you should apply as soon as you know that you are no longer able to work due to your heart attack symptoms.

If you need an attorney to help you apply for benefits, click here to contact Cannon Disability Law. We will give you a free review of your case to see if you can win benefits. Furthermore, you can hire us for no upfront fee and we do not charge an attorney fee until we win your benefits. If we do not win your benefits for you, then you do not pay an attorney fee. If you don’t win, you never pay an attorney fee.

heart attack man chest painHEART ATTACK SYMPTOMS 

Listing 4.04 (A) states in order to receive SSD benefits, you must have the following symptoms due to “myocardial ischemia.” For example, you must have:

  • angina pectoris, which is chest pain caused by activity or emotion and that is quickly relieved by rest (or by nitroglycerin tablets)
  • atypical angina, which is pain in places other than the chest, such as the inner left arm, jaw, neck, back and upper abdomen
  • “anginal equivalent,” which is shortness of breath on exertion, but with no complaints of chest pain
  • variant angina, which is episodes of angina at rest due to spasm of a coronary artery (this should be demonstrated by transient ST segment elevation on an electrocardiograph (ECG)), or
  • silent ischemia, which is myocardial ischemia or myocardial infarction without any pain or other symptoms.

In addition to the symptoms of myocardial ischemia, Listing 4.04 also requires you to have one of the following: either an abnormal stress test, ischemic episodes, or abnormal imaging results — as follows:

Abnormal Stress Test Can Demonstrate a Heart Attack

An exercise tolerance test at a workload equal to 5 METS or less, resulting in at least one of the following abnormalities:

  1. Horizontal or downsloping ST segment depression of at least -0.10 millivolts (-1.0 mm) (without the presence of digitalis glycoside treatment or low blood potassium), lasting for at least 1 minute into the recovery period
  2. At least 0.1 millivolt (1 mm) of ST segment elevation during exercise, which lasts 1 minute or more into the recovery period
  3. Decrease of systolic pressure of 10 mm HG or more below the baseline level or below the preceding systolic pressure recorded during exercise due to dysfunction of the left ventricle, despite a workload increase, or
  4. Ischemia documented at an exercise level of 5 METS or less on proper medically acceptable imaging, such as stress echocardiography.

Ischemic Episodes

Three separate ischemic episodes within a consecutive 12 month period. Each episode must require revascularization or not be amenable to be revascularization. Revascularization means angioplasty or bypass surgery.

Signs & Symptoms of an Ischemic Stroke

  • A severe headache without a known cause.
  • Confusion
  • Numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg. This may occur on one side of the body.
  • Trouble seeing out of one or both eyes.
  • Trouble walking or loss of balance.


Heart attacks can be treated with medications and with surgery. Following a heart attack, your doctor may give you medications. The following types of medications may be given to you by your doctor:

  • Anticoagulant: This type of medication is used to treat blood vessel, heart and lung conditions.
  • Antiplatelet agent: Keeps blood clots from forming.
  • Beta blocker: Decreases the heart rate, making your heart beat more slowly, and  lowers your blood pressure.

Additionally, your heart attack can be treated through surgery. Below you will find some of the possible operations that could be done after your heart attack:

  • Angioplasty: Special tubing with an attached deflated balloon is threaded up the coronary arteries in order to clear them.
  • Artificial heart valve surgery: Replaces a diseased heart valve with a healthy valve.
  • Bypass surgery: Treats blocked heart arteries by creating new passages for blood to flow to your heart muscle.
  • Heart transplant: Removes your heart and replaces it with a donated human heart that is healthy.
  • Radiofrequency ablation: A catheter with an electrode at its tip is guided through the veins to the heart to destroy heart muscle cells in a small area.
  • Stent procedure: A stent is a wire tube used to prop open an artery during angioplasty.
  • Transmyocardial revascularization (TMR): A laser is used to drill holes from the outside of the heart into the heart’s pumping chamber.


The SSA will read your medical records 3 months after a heart attack. They will be looking, for example, at your physical ability to exert yourself after the heart attack. Medical records from your doctor will show whether you can exert yourself without becoming short of breath or having chest pain and similar symptoms.

The forms you complete and send to the SSA influence the their decision.  If you need more information about how to appeal your SSD denial from the SSA, then read here. Likewise, your hearing testimony about your heart condition can make the difference between winning and losing your benefits. Additionally, here is information about what questions the judge will ask at your Social Security hearing.

SSA has a heart listing that includes heart attack as a condition for which they will pay benefits. Under Listing 4.04 for Ischemic HeartDisease, the SSA lists certain tests and symptoms that you must have to win benefits. There are other heart conditions that the SSA considers. For example, you may have recurrent arrhythmias, congenital heart disease, and heart failure.


Finally, one can win benefits under the listing if an angiography shows evidence of arterial disease. Listing 4.04C requires evidence of coronary artery disease, demonstrated by angiography or other appropriate medically acceptable imaging, as follows:

1. Angiographic evidence showing:

a. 50 percent or more narrowing of a nonbypassed left main coronary artery; or

b. 70 percent or more narrowing of another nonbypassed coronary artery; or

c. 50 percent or more narrowing involving a long (greater than 1 cm) segment of a nonbypassed coronary artery; or

d. 50 percent or more narrowing of at least two nonbypassed coronary arteries; or

e. 70 percent or more narrowing of a bypass graft vessel; and

2. Resulting in very serious limitations in the ability to independently initiate, sustain, or complete activities of daily living.


The medical record must show that your heart effects your ability to complete activities. For example, if you have ongoing heart disease, you might have trouble shopping or walking upstairs.

Likewise, you would have trouble lifting heavy or even light objects. Exerting yourself probably causes chest pain. You could also have chest pain or become short of breath when climbing stairs or even when you are sleeping at night. Additionally, you may be short of breath while sitting or resting.

Make sure you talk to your doctor about how your heart attack. Also, talk to your doctor about how your ongoing heart disease is making it impossible for you to do your chores or play with your children. Be sure to tell your doctor how you cannot take care of yourself and your family.


If you cannot do chores around the house, then chances are good you will not be able to return to work. Similarly, you cannot work if you cannot do your normal every day activities. However, your doctor needs to document the fact that you are physically limited in your medical record.

The reason it is important for your doctor to discuss your physical limits is to document your residual functional capacity (RFC) in the medical record. The medical record is the evidence the proves you deserve benefits.

The RFC is what you can physically do in a work setting. It is how the SSA looks at your limits after taking into account all of your medical conditions.

Your RFC after your heart attack includes both your physical and mental limits. In terms of physical limits, the SSA tries to define your ability to sit, stand, walk, and lift, during the course of an 8 hour workday. Likewise, the SSA will include your ability to carry, pull, and push. Find out more about how the SSA defines work here.

Your RFC limits the type of jobs that you can perform. The judge determines your RFC after reading your medical records and listening to your hearing testimony. If you have had a heart attack, then your RFC make be very limited. You can learn more about your RFC here. Depending on your age, there are rules called the Medical Vocational Guidelines that use your RFC to prove you cannot work.


You need SSDI and SSI benefits after a heart attack. Additionally, you need an attorney with experience. If you want to learn more about the lawyers and staff at Cannon Disability Law, then read our About Us page. There you will find more information about our lawyers. For example, Andria Summers can help you with your Medicare plan. Likewise, she has also won thousands of SSDI and SSI cases.

Dianna Cannon has many years of experience helping clients win benefits before the SSA. She has been an attorney for thirty years. Ms. Cannon also has bar licenses in 4 states. For example, she has a law license in California, Utah, Nevada, and Washington State.

Additionally, Brett Bunkall also has significant experience helping people obtain their SSI and SSD benefits. Mr. Bunkall has won thousands of Social Security hearings. He is a legal expert. Similarly, all of our attorneys are experts. You can trust us to help you receive benefits to replace your income after a heart attack.


You do not need to apply for Social Security benefits by yourself. You can always call our law firm and we will help you win benefits. There is no charge to call us. We can help you file your SSDI and SSI application. Also, we can help you appeal every SSA denial. For example, our attorneys and staff can:

  • Send you the paperwork you need to become our client
  • Help you file your application for SSD and SSI benefits
  • Inform the SSA that they should automatically pay your benefits under the Compassionate Allowance Rules
  • Appeal if you receive an initial denial from Disability Determination Services
  • Help you confirm your Consultative Examination
  • Request a Hearing with an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ)
  • Prepare you to be a good witness at your SSA hearing
  • Represent you at your hearing and question the expert witnesses
  • Read more about vocational experts here
  • Learn more about medical expert testimony here
  • Request review of a decision with the Appeals Council
  • Request review of an Appeals Council denial in Federal Court

If you file your application for benefits online at Social Security’s website, then you have 6 months to complete the application. Once you submit your application online, the SSA sends you an application summary in the mail. You must sign the summary and mail it back. If you don’t send it back, the SSA will not process your application. Sign it and send it back as soon as you can.


Cannon Disability’s attorneys have over 30 years of experience helping people who need SSDI and SSI benefits. That is why you should hire us.

When you are hiring an attorney to help you after your heart attack, hire the attorney with the most experience. Also, look to hire an entire legal team. No successful attorney works alone. If you are worrying about the attorney fee, read here about how the attorney fees work.

At Cannon Disability, we have an excellent legal team. We have worked together on SSDI and SSI cases for years. Additionally, we pride ourselves on customer service. All of us will do our best for you.

If you cannot work after a heart attack, contact Cannon Disability Law. We can help. Even though it is can be difficult to win benefits, we will do everything we can to help you apply. We will also appeal the denials in your SSDI case. Additionally, we have years of experience taking cases to the Appeals Council and Federal Court.

Also, we are happy to answer your questions. Contacting us about your case is free. We will not charge you for a review of your case. Many people contact us and ask us questions. We will answer your questions for no charge. However, we do not accept to the case of every person who calls us. But, we do try help everyone who calls by answering their questions.

We can only become your legal team if we believe you have a physical or mental condition that keeps you from working. If you have had a heart attack and you have not been able to recover and return to work, then call us today. See if we can help you win Social Security Disability benefits after your heart attack.

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