SSDI Qualifying Conditions: Vision Disorders in Los Angeles
Vision disorders of all types affect the ability to see. A visual disorder might be caused by disease or damage to the eye, the nerves that connect the eye to the brain, or the brain itself.
Vision disorders typically cause loss of visual acuity, visual field, or both. When visual acuity is lost, it becomes harder to discern details, making it difficult or impossible to read or do fine work. When visual field is lost or limited, it becomes more difficult or even impossible to see things without looking directly at them. Peripheral vision, which covers the top, bottom, and sides of the visual field, is narrowed or lost.
Finding Disability Coverage for Vision Disorders
The Social Security Administration (SSA) recognizes that several different types of vision disorders can cause disabilities that qualify a person for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits. Vision disorders are typically evaluated based on the degree of visual impairment, not on the disorder itself. For instance, some nearsighted people can see well with corrective lenses, while others cannot see well enough to drive a vehicle or read even with the best possible correction.
The Three Types of Visual Loss
In order to be considered a disability that qualifies for SSDI benefits, a vision disorder must cause one or more of the following losses:
- Loss of visual acuity. The SSA defines “legal blindness” as having visual acuity of 20/200 in the better eye with the best possible correction (usually glasses, contact lenses, or both). Visual acuity of 20/200 means that the person must stand 10 times closer to an object in order to pick out details than a person with normal vision would have to stand. People with visual acuity of 20/200 or less must often hold objects very close to their faces to discern details, if they can see detail at all. Individuals who are totally blind or whose eyesight is limited to sensing light and darkness are generally included under this section.
- Loss of visual field. The visual field includes the area the eye can see. Loss of visual field might include loss of peripheral vision, in which the eye can’t see what it is not looking at directly, or loss of center vision, in which the eye can’t see what it is looking at directly. A narrowing of the visual field to 20 percent or less is also included in the definition of legal blindness, and may qualify a person for disability benefits.
- Loss of visual efficiency. Visual efficiency is a group of skills required for the eyes to work properly. Even if a person has good visual acuity and/or visual field, he or she might still have poor visual efficiency. Elements of visual efficiency include the ability to distinguish colors, the ability to focus the eyes, depth perception, and the ability of the eyes to work together to track a moving object or look in the same direction. Visual efficiency of less than 20 percent may qualify a person for SSDI benefits.
In order to determine whether you qualify for SSDI benefits based on a vision disorder, the SSA asks for several pieces of information. Key evidence includes reports from your optometrist and/or ophthalmologist that describe both your visual impairments and how well you can see with the best possible correction. Notes from doctor’s visits, prescriptions for medications or corrective lenses, surgical notes (if you’ve had surgery), and the results of eye tests are all examples of vital information that must be provided to the SSA. Click here for more information about visual disorders and Social Security benefits.
Finding Fair and Needed SSDI Benefits
An experienced LA Social Security benefits attorney can help you with every step of the process, from your initial application to any necessary appeals. With the help of experienced legal representation, you can present the best case for your disorder and find the benefits you need to cope with your losses. To learn more about how the legal team at the Kenton Koszdin Law Office can help you in your disability claim, contact us today.