January marks The National Eye Institute’s annual Glaucoma Awareness Month.
Glaucoma is a leading cause of vision loss and blindness in the United States. It’s estimated that over 3 million people suffer from glaucoma — and many are unaware they have it.
What is Glaucoma? Glaucoma is a group of eye conditions in which intraocular pressure damages the optic nerve, causing a gradual loss of vision and blindness. There is currently no cure for glaucoma, but early detection and treatment can slow its progress. Treatment for glaucoma can include medicines such as eye drops, laser trabeculoplasty, conventional surgery, or a combination of the three. Because the onset of glaucoma is so gradual, most people don’t know they have it until it begins to affect their vision.
When an individual’s glaucoma becomes so severe they can no longer work, their visual disorder may qualify them for Social Security Disability Benefits.
The Social Security Disability Evaluation
The Social Security Administration defines visual disorders as “abnormalities of the eye, the optic nerve, the optic tracts, or the brain that may cause a loss of visual acuity or visual fields. A loss of visual acuity limits your ability to distinguish detail, read or do fine work. A loss of visual fields limits your ability to perceive visual stimuli in the peripheral extent of vision.”
Before someone can be approved for benefit however, they must first undergo a Social Security Disability Evaluation to determine if they meet the medical criteria for having a disability. For glaucoma, this includes visual field testing to measure the extent of the visual field loss.
The Social Security Disability Benefits Application Process
During the application process, the Disability Determination Services (DDS) will try to obtain evidence from the claimant’s own medical sources first. A consultative examination (CE) to obtain the additional information may be requested if needed. Once they’ve obtained the necessary evidence, the DDS makes the initial disability determination. If it’s determined that the claimant is disabled, the SSA will complete any outstanding non-disability development, compute the benefits amount, and begin paying benefits.
If the application for benefits is denied, the claimant has a limited time in which to file an appeal.
Get the Disability Benefits You Deserve
The Social Security Disability Benefits application process can be difficult for anyone, especially for someone who is visually impaired. Many applications are denied not because they don’t qualify but because they failed to provide the evidence required by the Social Security Administration to make its decision. Mistakes like these can be corrected with the help of an experienced Social Security Disability Benefits attorney.
Your chances of getting approved for benefits are significantly increased when you are represented by a qualified attorney. Board certified Houston Social Security Disability Benefits Attorney M. Stanley Whitehead has extensive experience helping clients navigate through the application process. M. Stanley Whitehead can help you appeal a SSDI denial and represent you in court, if necessary.
Contact the law offices of M. Stanley Whitehead to discuss your disability case. We are based in Houston, TX but serve clients all over the U.S.