Low vision, blindness, and other sight impairments can make it difficult to continue working your old job or find a new one. A Berger and Green, we understand how stressful it is when you cannot make ends meet because of impaired vision. Depending on your remaining vision and how your impairment affects your ability to work, you may qualify for disability benefits from Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
The Pittsburgh attorneys from Berger and Green know what it takes to get Social Security Disability for impaired vision in Pennsylvania. We understand what a qualifying claim looks like, and the strength of the medical documentation necessary. We offer free case reviews, and we handle applications and appeals based on contingency. This means that you do not owe us a fee unless we win. Call our office today at 412-661-1400.
Meeting the Criteria to Get Disability for Impaired Vision in Pittsburgh
To receive disability benefits, you must prove you meet the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) requirements for the condition.
The SSA publishes a list of qualifying medical conditions and the criteria required, known as “The Blue Book.” The criteria for impaired vision are in Section 2.00 – Special Senses and Speech. You may qualify for benefits if your medical records clearly show:
- Your visual acuity is 20/200 or worse in your better eye, despite glasses or other corrective solutions; or
- Your visual field is 20 degrees or less in your better eye.
It is also important that your condition has lasted at least a year, or it will last a year or more. This is a key component of every disability case, since you can only qualify if you suffer from a total, long-term impairment.
If you are considering applying for disability, we recommend talking to your eye doctor before you begin. Your medical documentation is key to proving your case, and they will be able to advise you on the strength of your medical records and whether or not they believe you meet qualifications.
Getting Disability for Impaired Vision Without Meeting an Impairment Listing
In some cases, you may still be able to get disability benefits even if you do not meet a Blue Book listing. This is possible based on your residual functional capacity (RFC). If you do not meet the impairment listing qualifications, the disability examiner handling your case should automatically consider your RFC. They will determine your RFC in one of three ways:
- The doctor from Disability Determination Services can assign an RFC based on the information in your application and your medical documentation from your records;
- They can ask your doctor to complete an exam and special worksheet to determine your RFC; or
- They can ask you to attend an exam conducted by a doctor they name and pay for, who will complete the worksheet to determine your RFC.
These exams determine your ability to complete a number of work-related and daily care tasks. This is important, since vision impairments can affect almost every aspect of your life, including:
- Reading and writing;
- Computer work;
- Attention to detail;
- Following safety protocols;
- Any tasks requiring hand-eye coordination;
- Mobility; and
If you cannot work your last job or any other job you qualify for, you will likely meet these criteria.
Technical Qualifications for Getting Disability Benefits
In addition to proving you suffer from a qualifying disability, you will also need to meet a number of technical qualifications that differ based on the program you are applying for.
SSDI Technical Qualifications
SSDI is a program that benefits disabled workers who are not old enough to qualify for retirement benefits. You must have a certain number of work credits to qualify for the program. You earn work credits by working and paying payroll taxes.
In addition, there is a set limit on how much you can earn each month. This is the substantial gainful activity (SGA) limit. Only income earned from working counts toward this total. This ensures those who receive benefits are totally disabled and unable to work and earn a living. The SSA allows legally blind applicants to earn more each month than those with other disabilities.
Technical Qualifications for SSI Benefits
SSI is an income-based program. You do not have to prove your past work history, but you do need to meet income and asset limits. Almost all types of income count toward your monthly limit for SSI.
Appealing a Denial of Your Disability Benefits
Unfortunately, even deserving applicants sometimes get denials. If the SSA did not approve your application, we can help you appeal your Social Security denial in Pittsburgh.
Our first step is to file an appeal and get on the docket for a disability hearing with an Administrative Law Judge. It can take months or longer for your appeals hearing date to arrive. This gives us time to collect evidence to prove your impairment, and build a strong case for approval of your benefits. We can present our argument to the Administrative Law Judge and ask them to overturn your denial.
Often, we are successful in getting our clients approved for benefits during this hearing. If not, we can explain what to expect during the next step in the appeals process. We will continue fighting for the monthly payments and back pay you deserve.
Talk to a Pittsburgh Disability Attorney About Getting Benefits for Your Impaired Vision.
At Berger and Green, our team understands how difficult it can be to work when you have major vision impairments. We can file your application or your appeal and fight for the disability benefits you deserve.
Call us today at 412-661-1400 to get started.