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Ask Dr. Boo!

Each month we will feature Dr. Boo’s responses to questions from our heart families.

Email with your questions today!

Q: Do you know what percentage of heart transplant recipients are able to work full time?

A:  My advice is to always expect much more than you did before they were transplanted. This philosophy can be appreciated by the observation that if they are wearing a t-shirt the world would be amazed that they had a heart transplant. “…your kidding?” 

Q: Do you know what percentage of transplant recipients receive disability benefits as adults?
The SSA has two programs for which you may qualify prior to and after undergoing a heart transplant:

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)

Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

With SSDI, you must have worked in the past and paid Social Security taxes. To qualify for SSI however, no work history is necessary, but you do need to show you have very limited financial resources and income because SSI is a need-based program.

Learn more about the disability programs here:

Medically Qualifying

A heart transplant automatically meets the medical criteria for SSD, but you must still apply for benefits and provide the Social Security Administration (SSA) with thorough medical records to support your claim.

You must additionally keep the SSA updated on your medical condition and provide copies of new medical records in order to continue your eligibility for benefits each time your medical condition is re-re-evaluated by the SSA.

Submitting an Application

If you have or need to undergo a heart transplant, you should apply for benefits as soon as possible in order to receive the financial support you need sooner rather than later.

Your application can be completed:

  • At your local SSA office, by appointment,


  • Online with the SSA’s website.

Either way, you will need to provide the SSA thorough medical records, work history details, financial information, the details of your education and training, and your activities of daily living.


  • Call 1-800-772-1213 to schedule an in-person interview at the local SSA office.