American Heart Month and Social Security Disability Benefits
By Kirk Larson
Social Security Washington Public Affairs Specialist
February is the month when we celebrate love and friendship. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has also declared February as American Heart Month to bring awareness to the leading cause of death for both women and men in the United States: heart disease.
We encourage you to wear red all month to promote cardiovascular disease prevention.
Just as the heart is vital to our emotional and physical well-being, Social Security disability benefits are often a vital lifeline for people who are unable to work due to severe disabilities—whether heart-related or not.
There are numerous ways to protect our hearts, including eating well, exercising, and not smoking. We get checkups, and make sure to keep our cholesterol down.
However, sometimes these measures aren’t enough. In fact, disability will affect one in four of today’s 20 year-olds at some point in their lives before reaching retirement age. The Social Security disability program excels in providing financial help to people when they need it most—help they earned by paying Social Security taxes on their earnings or as dependents of someone who paid Social Security taxes. Today in the state of Washington there are over 475 thousand people receiving monthly disability benefits.
Social Security pays benefits to covered people who can’t work and whose medical condition meets the strict definition of disability under the Social Security Act. A person is considered disabled under this definition if he or she cannot work due to a severe medical condition that has lasted or is expected to last at least one year or result in death. The person's medical condition must prevent him or her from doing work that he or she did in the past, and it must prevent the person from adjusting to other work based on their age, education, and experience. You can find all the information you need about eligibility and benefits available to you by reading our publication, Disability Benefits, available at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs.
If you are disabled, and think you are eligible to receive disability benefits, you will need to complete an application for Social Security benefits. It’s easy to apply online at www.socialsecurity.gov/disability.
We also invite you to visit our Faces and Facts of Disability website to watch and read stories about people who have truly benefited from Social Security’s disability program and to get the facts about this very important program. Helping people is at the heart of what we do. You can learn more at www.socialsecurity.gov/disabilityfacts.
During American Heart Month, go ahead and wear your heart on your sleeve. Go red, and go to www.socialsecurity.gov/disabilityfacts.
- Questions and Answers from SSA