I Just Had a Coronary Bypass; Can I Get Disability Benefits?

Will having a CABG get you disability benefits? It depends on the extent of the damage caused by a heart attack and your prognosis.

Question

I just had a coronary bypass, a few months after losing my job. Can I get disability benefits?

Answer

A person who suffers a heart attack may require a coronary artery bypass graft (CABG, pronounced as "cabbage"). A heart attack is the end result of arterial stenosis (narrowing of the arteries) and ischemia (inadequate supply of oxygen to the heart).

Will having a CABG get you disability benefits? It depends on the extent of the damage caused by a heart attack and your prognosis. If just one of your coronary arteries required a bypass, the SSA isn't likey to consider you disabled. A person with a CABG x 2 (two arteries bypassed and grafted -- a double bypass) will have a much lesser chance of re-entering the workforce than an individual with a CABG x 1 (a single artery bypassed). Patients who've had a triple or quadruple bypass are even less likely to be able to work again. The reasoning behind this is clear: more extensive grafting implies more damage to the heart and less likelihood of full recovery. 

Whether you can get disability benefits after a CABG also depends on the results of an exercise stress test and whether you have symptoms of angina. For more information, see our article on when you can get disability for coronary artery disease.

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