Our vision represents one of the most important attributes we possess to work in a wide variety of jobs successfully. From the shop foreman responsible for designating assignments to the pilot flying across the world, we need ideal vision to make a living. When your eyesight begins to falter, so does our professional accomplishments.
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) affects the central area of the retina. When the medical condition reaches the serious stage, you might not be able to read standard size print, recognize facial features, and/or discern important details that sit just in front of you. The medical condition affects mostly adults over the age of 50 years. If you suffer from macular degeneration, how do you make up for the income lost at work because of diminished job skills?
The Federal Standard for Determining Disability Benefits
As the federal government agency responsible for approving disability benefits for Americans, the Social Security Administration (SSA) has developed the Social Security Disability Insurance Program (SSDI) to help workers meet financial needs. The SSA provides a resource called the Blue Book, which lists every disease and illness that makes American workers eligible to receive disability benefits. However, you have to also meet standards established for severity of symptoms. AMD has three symptoms stages ranging from minor visual impact to severe eyesight impairment.
Another factor to consider is the SSA Blue Book does not list AMD as a medical condition that qualifies applicants to receive SSDI benefits. However, the Blue Book does list two vision-related conditions that can get you the money you need to make up for the loss of income on the job. Section 2.02 addresses the loss of visual acuity, while section 2.04 defines the diagnostic standard for loss of visual efficiency. Visual acuity means the vision in your better eye is worse than 20/200. On the other hand, visual efficiency for the better eye while wearing corrective lenses is 20 percent or less of perfect vision.
How the SSA Makes SSDI Decisions
If you have to endure vision loss because of AMD, the primary goal is for you to demonstrate the age-related loss of vision meets one or both of the standards set forth on the Blue Book. This means presenting compelling evidence that you suffer from the acute loss of vision. A team of vocational and medical industry experts thoroughly review every SSDI application to determine whether to award compensation that makes up for the loss of income. The more details you provide the panel of SSDI experts, the more likely the SSA approves your application. If the SSA denies your SSDI application, you have the right to file a formal appeal.
Ways to Apply for SSDI Benefits
There are several ways to apply for SSDI benefits, with standard mail service representing the oldest method. Paper applications sent via snail mail take longer to process than other methods of submitting an SSDI application. You can submit an SSDI application in person at an SSA office, as well as go online and access the web page created by the SSA to file for disability benefits. The application process can take a few months to reach a conclusion, especially if you decide to file an appeal after receiving a denial notice.
An attorney who specializes in handling SSDI benefits cases can assist you in developing a convincing application. Schedule a free initial consultation with a state licensed disability lawyer to learn more about submitting an SSDI benefits application.