Heart disease and stroke are the most common cardiovascular diseases, but heart or cardiovascular disabilities include a wide range of conditions that lead to disabilities: chronic or congestive heart failure, Chronic Obstructed Pulmonary Disease (COPD), cardiovascular disease, Coronary Artery Disease (CAD), high blood pressure and angina.
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While some people are able to resume their regular lives after a cardiovascular event, many are not and must file a claim for disability insurance in order to continue to pay their bills. Cardiovascular illness ranges from slight, where the person may undergo surgery and take medication and can return to their regular lives, to severe, where the person is unable to perform any of the tasks of daily living that were once part of their identity – including working. And between the two extremes are varied degrees of poor cardiovascular health and varied degrees of ability to return to work.
Depending on the amount of damage sustained by the heart and the person’s overall health, the damage to the heart often does not allow the person to return to their same level of activity. The risk for a subsequent heart attack, stroke, kidney disorder or peripheral arterial disease is different in every situation. Returning to work depends on the person’s health and the tasks required to perform their job.
For disability insurance companies, cardiovascular illness is a disease of degrees. Claims agents look at every possible factor, including the claimant’s age, work history, type of work, and related illnesses. The severity of the heart disease and the tasks that are required by the person’s job are scrutinized very closely. Insurers often argue that a claimant can return to work following a cardiac event, and that the risk of future impairment (or death) is not sufficient to support a disability claim. Insurers often rely upon improved stress test results when a claimant has not worked as evidence that they can actually return to work.
We have effectively countered many of these techniques in support of claimants. Claimants fighting a disability claim for a cardiovascular disease must be sure that their cardiologist and physician indicate in their medical records very specifically what tasks they are no longer able to perform. A simple diagnosis of "heart disease" is not enough. The medical records must reflect the limitations and carefully document the illness.
If you or someone you love is suffering from the effects of a cardiovascular disease and have concerns about disability insurance, call our offices to speak with a partner today at 1-877-LTD-CLAIM (1-877-583-2524) or click here to send an email.Ready To Talk?
Justin Frankel is a founding partner of the disability insurance law firm Frankel & Newfield and is a highly skilled litigator and advocate. He has published numerous articles on the challenges facing clients with private or individual disability insurance policies and those who own group or ERISA disability insurance policies.
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