If you suffer from low vision or total blindness that limits your ability to work and make a living, you may be able to qualify for Social Security disability benefits. Whether you qualify depends on many different factors. The most important of these is your medical diagnosis and prognosis.
The Social Security disability attorneys at Lunn & Forro, PLLC can analyze your situation and determine if you qualify for Social Security disability for blindness in Raleigh. We ensure you have all the evidence necessary to prove your condition and get the benefits you deserve. We can also represent you through the appeals process and secure the benefits and back pay you are due. Call our Raleigh office today at 888-966-6566 to schedule a time to discuss your options for benefits.
Do I meet the Social Security Administration’s qualifications for blindness?
The Social Security Administration (SSA) outlines the standards for what it means to have a disabling condition. When it comes to blindness, you must have significant vision loss in both eyes. If you have adequate vision in one eye, you are not likely to qualify. Likewise, if you do not have notable vision loss, you probably will not qualify.
The SSA publishes a document outlining its disability standards. Our lawyers are familiar with this “Blue Book,” and can look at your medical records to determine if you meet the standard set by the impairment listing for vision loss.
To qualify, you need:
- To have a maximum of 20/200 vision in both eyes, the standard for legal blindness, or;
- Be totally blind with no perception of light in both eyes, or;
- Meet the standard for loss of visual efficiency, which also considers your peripheral vision loss
What happens if I do not meet these qualifications?
Just because you do not meet these standards does not mean you cannot qualify. It only means we must prove your vision loss keeps you from returning to your previous job or adjusting to any new jobs.
This is often the most difficult part of the claims process, and where many people struggle. Because of our experience with the SSA, we know what it takes to qualify for disability benefits and can collect the evidence necessary to prove your case if you qualify.
How do I file for Social Security benefits for blindness in Raleigh?
You can apply for benefits online (for Social Security Disability Insurance, not Supplemental Security Income), over the phone, or in person. However, we encourage you to give us a call before you begin this process. When you file your claim, the SSA will request a lot of documentation of your condition, your work history and other evidence. You must show it how your vision loss impacts your ability to work.
You also need to document any other disabilities you may have, and provide evidence of how they impair your ability to work. Knowing how to adequately document these disabilities is often the key in getting the approval you deserve. For that reason, we encourage you to give us a call before beginning your application.
What evidence do I need to support my claim?
Your medical records play a key role in proving you suffer from a disability and cannot work due to your vision loss. The SSA will also need contact information for your treating physician, ophthalmologist, and/or optometrist.
There are specific things the SSA is looking for in your medical records. This includes a diagnosis that causes vision loss or blindness and tests showing your vision is at or below the measurements of visual acuity mentioned in the impairment listings. If your condition limits your peripheral vision, the SSA will also look for test results showing your visual field efficiency.
Occasionally, it may also request you undergo testing to measure your brainwaves when shown visual stimuli. Known as visual evoked response testing, this is a more accurate way to determine your visual ability than the usual testing using a Snellen eye chart. If you have already undergone this type of test, include the results when you apply.
Are there any special rules I need to know about?
The SSA has several special rules in place for blind applicants that may help you get more benefits, and get them more quickly. This includes:
- Presumptive blindness benefits: The SSA may decide to issue you benefits before it makes a “formal” finding of blindness. Presumptive blindness only applies to Supplemental Security Income (SSI) claimants.
- A higher cutoff for substantial gainful activity: In 2017, those who suffer from blindness can earn up to $1,950 per month and still receive disability benefits. The cutoff for other disabilities is substantially lower, at $1,170 per month.
- Disability freeze: This rule allows you to freeze your income at a level before your vision loss began, in the event your disability caused you to earn less as it worsened.
What if the SSA denies my claim?
Unfortunately, SSA benefits denials are extremely common. If you do receive a denial letter from the SSA, you have the right to file an appeal. If you have not called us about your case yet, this is the time to do it. We can request the SSA reconsider its decision and ensure you have all the medical and non-medical evidence necessary to show you qualify for benefits.
We might also need to request a hearing in front of an administrative law judge (ALJ). The ALJ reviews your claim and the evidence to support it, and rules on your qualification. We represent you through this process, and often get qualified clients approved for benefits in this hearing.
If not, there are still additional steps we can take to get your Social Security disability benefits for blindness in Raleigh, as well as the back pay you deserve.
Where can I get help with my Raleigh disability application?
At Lunn & Forro, PLLC, we understand how frustrating it can be when you are trying to get Social Security Disability for blindness in Raleigh. By ensuring you have the proper evidence to prove your claim, we can help you get approved sooner. Call our office today at 888-966-6566 to schedule a time to meet with a Raleigh Social Security disability attorney.