Vision loss can make a significant negative impact on every aspect of your life. From diminishing work performance to making it impossible to drive a motor vehicle, the financial implications of vision loss are serious. This is why the Social Security Administration (SSA) runs the disability benefits program. To receive benefits, you must submit an application and, in many cases, know each stage of the appeals process.
Submitting a Convincing Disability Application
First impressions matter when it comes to submitting a disability application. The SSA frowns on incomplete applications, as well as inaccurate information that damages the credibility of the applicant. Working with a Social Security attorney ensures your disability application presents complete and accurate information.
You also want to send medical documentation with your disability application. Medical documents such as vision tests and treatment regimens to improve your vision are especially important. A statement made by your physician can do a tremendous amount of good for the status of your disability application. Your doctor will include an analysis of whether you can perform the job-related duties you performed before the loss of your vision.
The Blue Book and Residual Functional Capacity
The SSA updates the Blue Book online every year to stay on top of the latest developments in the healthcare industry. Regarded as the gold standard for medical information, the Blue Book lists every medical condition that qualifies disability applicants for benefits. The Blue Book also provides general information, the requirements for submitting evidence, and overviews of symptoms that the SSA considers to be impairments.
A Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) form evaluates how your vision lass has prevented you from meeting personal and professional responsibilities. Although the SSA requires applicants to undergo an extensive medical examination conducted by an SSA-appointed physician, it is a good idea to have your physician conduct a physical examination that focuses on the loss of your vision.
The Four Phases of the Appeals Process
The four phases of the appeals process start with reconsideration, which is the second filing of your disability application through the SSA evaluation system. A different examiner reviews your application and the medical evidence that you submitted the first time. Reconsideration is an excellent opportunity to bolster your claim by submitting additional compelling medical evidence. Unfortunately, the SSA denies a majority of reconsideration appeals. This means you have to move on to an ALJ hearing.
An ALJ hearing unfolds in a courtroom where you have the right to testify in front of a judge. The judge not only can ask you questions, but the medical professionals that support your disability claim are permitted to testify as well. An unsuccessful ALJ hearing leads you to the third phase of the appeals process called an Appeals Council review. A group of members affiliated with the SSA reviews your case, but this time the review is conducted exclusively through written communication.
As the last phase of the appeals process, arguing your claim in front of a Federal District Court judge can reverse the decision made at the ALJ level. The judge presiding over your disability case might find the ALJ made an error in judgment regarding your case.
Ask for a Free Case Evaluation
Struggling with vision loss can make completing ordinary tasks monumental events. Make sure you receive the compensation you deserve by asking for a free case evaluation conducted by an experienced Social Security lawyer.