Few conditions impact your ability to work than eye problems. While many people dealing with visual disorders believe that you have to be totally blind in order to qualify for disability benefits, the truth is any significant degree of vision loss can affect your ability to work and make you eligible for Social Security Disability Benefits (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
You may be eligible to receive $3,345 each month. Fill out a Free Disability Evaluation today!
Eye Conditions That Qualify for Disability Benefits
Below is an overview of eye conditions that the Social Security Administration (SSA) has recognized as disabling and how a lawyer can help you successfully apply for the benefits you need.
1. Vision Loss (Legally Blind)
The SSA considers you to be legally blind if your visual cannot be improved beyond 20/200 in your better eye or your visual field is 20 degrees or less in that eye and the condition is expected to last for at least 12 months.
2. Partial Sight
Partial sight, also known as low vision, means that you have limited visual capability. It can be caused by trauma or diseases like glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, and even brain disorders.
Cataracts are cloudy areas on the lens of the eye. While they are normally treated via surgery, some cataracts may resist improvement and make it impossible to keep working.
4. Sjögren’s Syndrome
Sjogren's syndrome is a systemic autoimmune disease that initially affects lacrimal and salivary glands, resulting in dry eye disease and/or dry mouth disease. It can also cause eyelid inflammation and corneal abrasions.
One of the leading causes of blindness for people over the age of 60, glaucoma refers to a group of eye disorders that damages the optic nerve and impacts vision. The damage is usually caused by abnormally high pressure in the eye.
Hemianopia is partial blindness or a loss of sight in half of your visual field. It is caused by damage to the optic nerve or brain due to conditions like traumatic brain injury, epilepsy, lymphoma, and multiple sclerosis. Depending on the cause, hemianopia may be temporary or permanent.
7. Macular Degeneration
Macular Degeneration is an incurable eye disease that results when the central portion of the retina, known as the macula, suffers deterioration. Symptoms include a central vision disruption that makes it impossible to read, recognize faces, drive, or see objects in detail.
8. Ocular Melanoma
Ocular melanoma is an extremely rare form of cancer that affects the uveal tract, which is the pigmented tissue layer under the white of the eye. Symptoms include visual distortions like wavy lines and floating specks as well as retinal detachment. It has the potential to spread to other areas of the body, with the liver being the most commonly affected organ.
Getting A Doctor’s Disability Letter
A disability letter from your doctor in support of your disability claim may help increase your chances of having your disability claim approved.
The disability letter should detail your medical history and how your daily life is affected by your condition. In the disability letter, your doctor should detail your medical history and why your doctor thinks you would qualify for disability benefits.
It should discuss your diagnosis, medical tests that confirmed your diagnosis, exam notes that detail how you are affected by the condition, and what you can and cannot do.
While your doctor basically rehashes your medical records, he or she is writing it in a way that is easier to understand and basically summarizes it.
It puts the details in an easier to understand form and, also, makes it more relatable to your condition and your everyday life. Your doctor’s disability letter will detail your medical issues and how you are affected by the condition or conditions.
By providing the formal diagnosis, the date of onset of disability, the tests performed to diagnose your condition, and the treatments you have undergone to limit the effects of your condition.
It will also give a long-term outlook for your condition as well as the timeframe of the regression or progression of your condition.
It should also indicate the symptoms that you suffer as well as how your daily life is affected by your symptoms. It should also talk about your ability to work and how you are limited.
What Form Does My Doctor Fill Out For Disability Benefits?
If you are applying for disability benefits, your doctor should complete a residual functional capacity (RFC) form. This form can be provided along with a disability letter.
The form should detail what you can and cannot do, so the disability examiner can determine what kind of work – if there is any – that you can do.
As an example, it should detail how long you can stand, the frequency of breaks, if you are unable to be around chemicals or inhalants, how much you can lift, how far you can walk, and so forth.
It will also discuss your ability for social interaction, assimilate new information, and engage in simple, routine, repetitive tasks, known as SRRTs.
Your RFC will also indicate if you are unable to stay focused or if you have difficulty finishing a task. The RFC assesses your ability to work after taking all mental and physical conditions into consideration.
There are two forms – a mental RFC form and a physical RFC form. The mental RFC is completed by a psychologist or psychiatrist and refers to all mental symptoms, such as illogical thinking, delusions, memory issues, fatigue, and so forth.
A physical RFC will rate your residual functioning capacity, such as your ability to perform routine daily activities. It will make reference to how long you can stand, sit, walk, crouch, bend, reach, and stoop.
It will say how much you can lift, what you can carry, and what you can and cannot do in detail. When you submit a disability letter and a disability form, you can significantly increase your likelihood of having your claim approved.
Get a Free Case Evaluation
Applying for disability benefits for eye problems can be an uphill battle, as anything less than complete vision loss is not always recognized as disabling. Many claims are often denied disability. A Social Security Disability lawyer can help you prepare and present a compelling case for the benefits you need. To get in touch with a disability advocate or lawyer who takes cases in your area, complete the Free Case Evaluation form today.