You once thought that there could be nothing worse than suffering a heart attack. You know that the VA offers disability benefits for people with heart conditions, but now your fighting the VA trying to prove service connection for your heart problems.
Types of Heart Conditions That Qualify for VA Disability Benefits
The VA evaluates the percentage of your disability based on the kind of heart condition you have, and how long you are expected to be incapacitated by your condition. The VA has several different test procedures and fixed disability ratings for heart problems, including:
- Coronary artery disease. If your arteries have become blocked, hardened, or narrow, you are said to be suffering from coronary artery disease (CAD). In most cases, CAD can be diagnosed by having a patient wear a heart monitor while running on a treadmill. Doctors can also examine the degree of your CAD by inserting a catheter into your heart (cardiac catheterization) or by taking a specialized x-rays of your blood vessels called an angiogram. The VA will examine your test results and the frequency of your heart failure episode to determine your disability rating.
- Hypertension. Hypertension, or high blood pressure, does not always cause debilitating symptoms. However, people with hypertension that is undiagnosed may develop serious heart conditions as a result. Hypertension can also cause blurry vision, difficulty breathing, and problems throughout the organ systems in the body. If you have hypertension, you should speak to your doctor about possible bodily complications to see which condition you should list on your VA disability application.
- Heart attacks. After a heart attack, a veteran is considered 100% disabled for the first three months after the incident. After three months have elapsed, the VA will reevaluate the disability rating based on treadmill testing, frequency of heart failure, and the extent of remaining dysfunction in the heart.
- Coronary bypass surgery. If you have undergone coronary bypass surgery (either before or after a heart attack), you will be given a 100% disability rating for three months after the surgery. The VA will then reassess your rating under the same qualifications as heart attack patients.
An Attorney Can Help You Appeal Your Disability Claim for Your Heart Condition
Veterans can file an application for heart-related VA disability on their own. However, they must still be able to prove a causal connection between their military service and their heart condition in order to be considered for disability. At Cuddigan Law, our VA disability attorneys can gather medical information from your service record to help get your appeal approved. Contact Cuddigan Law today or download a free copy of our book, The Essential Guide to VA Disability Claims, to learn more.