If you are blind, have impaired vision, or suffer from other visual problems, you might be eligible for disability. The Social Security Administration (SSA) describes several visual impairments in its list of qualifying conditions, known as the Blue Book. For medical conditions listed in this book, you may receive benefits if you meet the organization’s strict medical criteria.
Even if your visual problem does not appear in the Blue Book, a good disability lawyer can help you win benefits. At the Law Offices of Ogle, Elrod & Baril, PLLC, we specialize in disability. We have a track record of winning benefits for our clients, including many who are visually impaired.
Call us today for a free consultation. We can answer all your questions. Then, we can evaluate your claim based on your condition and determine the best way to move forward in your quest for benefits. Call 866-628-8179 now to learn more about how to get disability for blindness and impaired vision.
What Medical Evidence Do I Need to Get Disability for Visual Problems?
There are several acceptable ways to provide proof of your qualifying visual impairment to the SSA. The SSA lists these acceptable forms of medical documentation in the Blue Book. The Blue Book also describes the specific medical criteria you must meet in order to qualify as disabled.
Our attorneys work with your doctors and medical providers to gather the evidence we need to prove your disability to the SSA. Because we have worked with many clients who, before coming to us, received a denial from the SSA due to missing evidence, we gather as much documentation as necessary to make your claim thorough and compelling.
The evidence we need to submit could include some or all of the following pieces of documentation.
It is nearly impossible to receive benefits for visual impairment without an eye exam from an ophthalmologist. If you are applying due to poor vision, the exam needs to show your best-corrected central visual acuity. If you are applying for poor peripheral vision, we will need proof of the extent of your visual field. We can work with your doctor to make sure you receive the kind of testing you need to qualify. There are several tests we might order to prove your blindness or impaired vision.
If an eye doctor has ever had you look at a chart with a large “E” at the top and read letters from the smallest row visible to you, then you have had a Snellen chart exam.
This type of test is highly effective at determining central visual acuity, but the SSA does not always trust it as a standalone test. This is because patients can fake the results by intentionally reading off incorrect letters. Thus, we usually try to order additional tests to corroborate the results of a Snellen exam.
Visual Evoked Response (VER)
The VER offers another way to test central visual acuity. It has a few advantages over the Snellen chart. You cannot fake it, which makes it harder for the SSA to question its results. Also, the VER can detect certain dysfunctions that other tests fail to find.
The Goldmann stimulus tests your peripheral vision by measuring your response to stimuli that appear in various places within a normal field of vision.
Eye Disease Diagnosis
If you suspect a particular eye condition, such as cataracts, macular degeneration, retinopathy, or retinal detachment, is causing or contributing to your visual problems, we will obtain a valid diagnosis from your doctor.
What Is the SSA’s Definition of Blindness?
Under the SSA’s guidelines, you may qualify for benefits if you are legally blind. The SSA considers you legally blind if you meet one of two conditions:
- Your vision cannot improve to better than 20/200 in your better eye, even with corrective lenses; or
- Your visual field is 20 degrees or less, even with corrective lenses.
Qualifying Through the Residual Functional Capacity Assessment
If you cannot receive benefits through the Blue Book criteria, then our attorneys work to get you benefits through a Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) assessment.
The RFC test awards benefits based on physical and mental limitations in your work capacity. In other words, it is not so much the condition itself that matters; it is how the condition affects your ability to work.
A successful RFC claim requires substantial evidence. The best evidence we can produce is medical documentation. We work with your treating physician to get a statement that provides details of your condition and the ways it affects your life. If you have had any formal medical evaluations or diagnoses—even for conditions not listed in the Blue Book—we also include those as supporting evidence.
Additionally, we interview people who regularly observe you or spend time with you, such as friends, family members, coworkers, and neighbors. While statements from such people are not sufficient on their own, they can bolster an already strong application.
The SSA evaluates RFC claims on your ability to continue working. This can be a vague distinction, as you might argue your visual impairment prevents you from working, while the SSA might claim that you can continue to work at your job. For this reason, it is important to work with a skilled attorney with a track record of winning disability cases. Our lawyers can anticipate any challenges or pushback that might emerge in your case and come up with a way to overcome them.
Call the Law Offices of Ogle, Elrod & Baril, PLLC, at 866-628-8179 Today for a Free Consultation.
The attorneys at the Law Offices of Ogle, Elrod & Baril, PLLC, are ready to put their knowledge and resources to work for you. We can help you win disability benefits, just as we have helped many clients win their cases.
At the initial free consultation, we can provide answers to all of your questions about the disability claims process. We will also offer expert advice on how best to pursue your claim. If you are ready to get started, we can start gathering evidence and building your case right away. Call 866-628-8179 today for an appointment.