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Compassionate Allowance - Infantile Bilateral Optic Atrophy

Infantile Bilateral Optic Atrophy was one of 30 conditions recently added to the Social Security Administrations list of Compassionate Allowances. Social Security disability claimants who suffer from any of the 200 conditions listed in the Compassionate Allowances program automatically qualify for Social Security disability benefits.

The purpose of the Compassionate Allowances program is to streamline the claims process for people who are diagnosed with conditions which always meet the Social Security Administration’s guidelines for complete disability. Claims which are based on infantile bilateral optic atrophy or other listed conditions are separated from other claims and put through a much faster process. As long as the medical documentation supports the diagnosis, your Social Security disability claim should be approved within three weeks.

Infantile Bilateral Optic Atrophy - Conditions and Symptoms

Infantile bilateral optic atrophy is a condition which affects the optic nerve’s ability to carry impulse signals from the eyes to the brain. This typically results in:

  • Central vision deficits
  • Inability to distinguish visual contrasts
  • Lack of visual acuity
  • Changes in eye color
  • Changes in the optic disc’s structure
  • Involuntary rhythmic eye movements

In most cases, infantile bilateral optic atrophy is evident at or shortly after birth. It affects both eyes. Bilateral optic atrophy can be caused by a number of conditions, including:

  • Tumors in the visual pathways
  • Degenerative diseases
  • Heredity
  • Birth trauma
  • Inadequate oxygen during or shortly after birth
  • Water on the brain
  • The condition is often accompanied by other neurological conditions, including:
  • Motor development problems
  • Seizures
  • Developmental delays

Applying for Social Security Disability for a child with Infantile Bilateral Optic Atrophy

If your child is diagnosed with infantile bilateral optic atrophy, he or she will automatically qualify medically for Social Security disability under the compassionate allowances program. Since bilateral optic atrophy typically begins at birth, you will likely be eligible for back pay dating to your child’s date of birth.

Because your claim qualifies for a compassionate allowance, you can expect a much faster decision than other Social Security disability claimants. Typically, the SSA approves and begins paying benefits within a month or two of your initial claim. You will need to include the appropriate medical documentation with your claim. For infantile bilateral optic atrophy, this typically includes:

  • Your doctor’s report of describing findings consistent with an infantile bilateral optic atrophy diagnosis
  • All medical documentation pertaining to visual acuity and field of vision
  • Documentation of either Snellen method testing or fixation/visual following behavior consistent with a diagnosis of bilateral optic atrophy
  • Medical reports of anatomical findings consistent with bilateral optic atrophy
  • Medical imaging results if available (usually VER, neuroimaging, or electroretinogram)

When your child becomes 18, he will need to be reevaluated to see if he qualifies for Social Security disability benefits as an adult. At that time, his qualifications will be based on the corrected vision in his better eye.

Your Child’s Infantile Bilateral Optic Atrophy Disability Case

It’s generally in your best interests to retain a Social Security lawyer, even in compassionate allowances claims. This is especially true when the claim involves a minor child. Your Social Security lawyer can help ensure that your claim is properly filed and can also give you legal counsel regarding the appropriate use of Social Security funds in caring for your child.

When your child has a condition like infantile bilateral optic atrophy which is likely to cause lifelong disabilities but which is not generally fatal, it’s beneficial if a lawyer is already familiar with your child’s claim when it comes up for review after he turns 18.