Social Security: Tackling heart diseases |

Social Security: Tackling heart diseases

February is American Heart Month. Cardiovascular disease is not only the leading cause of death in the U.S., it also is a major cause of disability.

Social Security is dedicated to helping people with heart conditions throughout the year, but we’d like to take this opportunity to tell you about the most recent initiative to help people who file claims for monthly disability benefits due to heart disease.

Recently, Social Security held a public Compassionate Allowances hearing on cardiovascular disease. Social Security Commissioner Michael Astrue and leading experts on cardiovascular disease met to discuss possible methods to identify disabling cases and expedite those claims for both adults and children.

Social Security is committed to ensuring Americans with devastating illnesses receive benefits quickly. The Compassionate Allowances process is one of the initiatives to speed up the disability application process for people with severe conditions.

“This fiscal year, about 150,000 people will benefit from our fast-track disability processes,” said Commissioner Astrue. “With this hearing, we continue to look at broader categories of conditions to determine if a subset or certain diagnosis might clearly meet our disability standards and qualify as a Compassionate Allowance.”

Currently, 88 specific diseases and conditions qualify as Compassionate Allowances and, as a result, claims filed by people who are disabled due to these conditions are put on the fast track to receive benefits.

To see a complete list of Compassionate Allowance conditions and to view a Web cast of the hearing on cardiovascular disease, visit

To learn more about disability benefits, visit To apply for disability benefits, go to

kathy petersen is a public affairs specialist for social security, denver region. you can write her c/o social security administration, 605 main, suite 201, rapid city, sd, 57701 or via e-mail at kathy. next week kathy will answer your questions in her popular “your questions, our answers” column.

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