Understanding Macular Degeneration
Macular degeneration is a chronic and common eye disease that often leads to central vision loss. The macula is within the center part of the retina, and when its tissues begin to deteriorate, it can lead to blurred or blind spots within the field of vision. If this condition severely impairs your ability to work, you might need to file macular degeneration disability claims with a disability insurance company and/or the Social Security Administration. In this blog, we’ll look at the various aspects of disability, macular degeneration, and how we can help with your case.
Types of Macular Degeneration
Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)
Macular degeneration is the leading cause of central vision loss in individuals age 50 and up. There are two primary types of macular degeneration: dry and wet macular degeneration. The dry type affects nearly 80-90% of people with age-related macular degeneration. Its cause is unknown, and it tends to progress slower than the wet type. In this condition, small yellowish or white deposits form on the retina below the macula, making it deteriorate over time. As the deterioration of the macula continues, a person’s central vision also deteriorates.
Wet macular degeneration affects around 10-15% of patients with age-related macular degeneration. However, it accounts for at least 90% of all cases of adverse vision loss as a result of the disease. In this condition, abnormal blood vessels beneath the retina start to grow toward the macula, and the abnormal blood vessels break, bleed, and leak fluid. This damages the macular and lifts it, pulling it away from its base. The result is often rapid or severe vision loss. Laser surgery may be performed to prevent leakage from the blood vessels and to slow down vision loss.
Juvenile Macular Degeneration
Besides the two main types of age-related macular degeneration, juvenile macular degeneration is also a type of macular degeneration affecting children and young adults between the ages of 6 and 20. It is a rare inherited condition affecting central vision. For instance, words might disappear when reading, colors fade, and straight lines may look distorted.
Macular Degeneration and Long Term Disability Insurance
Macular degeneration is pretty distressing and frightening. Besides affecting the central part of your vision, it can also disrupt your ability to perform normal work duties and may lead to long-term disability from work. Many patients become legally blind whereby only the peripheral vision functions, but relying solely on peripheral vision can lead to mistakes in the workplace and adverse safety issues. As your condition progresses and your visual field efficiency reduces, it is likely that you will lose the ability to work.
Fortunately, many employers offer long term disability benefits as part of an employee benefits package. You can also obtain an individual long term disability policy, also known as private disability insurance. If you are unable to work you may qualify for disability insurance benefits from your insurance company.
If you have lost your vision because of AMD, it makes sense to talk to the attorneys at Ortiz Law Firm about your disability case for loss of vision. We help individuals with wrongfully denied or terminated macular degeneration long term disability claims. If your insurance company has denied your claim or terminated benefits prematurely we can help with the appeal process and, if necessary, can help prepare and file a lawsuit against the insurance company.
Applying for Social Security Disability with Macular Degeneration
Anyone suffering from macular degeneration is likely to have a challenging time maintaining employment, so you may consider applying for Social Security Disability benefits so you can receive the financial assistance you might need along the way. Before applying for SSD, it is vital to understand how the Social Security Administration (SSA) evaluates claims to determine eligibility.
When evaluating a claimant’s visual acuity and efficiency, the SSA will look at test results of your better eye with corrective lenses. It is not a matter of whether you have been diagnosed with macular degeneration, but whether your central or peripheral vision is poor enough to limit your activities. A disability attorney can help you bridge the gap between your diagnosis and your resulting limitations.
The SSA blue book has listed the qualifying medical conditions and the requirements for their approval. Macular degeneration may not be listed in the Blue Book, but there are various listings related to vision loss:
- 2.02 Loss of Visual Acuity
- 2.04 Loss of Visual Efficiency
Listing 2.02 Loss of Central Visual Acuity requires that the “remaining vision in the better eye after best correction is 20/200 or less.”
Listing 2.04 Loss of Visual Efficient, or Visual Impairment, in the Better Eye requires ” a visual efficiency percentage of 20 or less after best correction (see 2.00.A7d) OR a visual impairment value of 1.00 or greater after best correction (see 2.00A8d)
To have a successful claim, you should be equipped with medical evidence and other supporting documentation before you start the process. You should have a detailed listing of all your medical practitioners and include their contact details. Also, you should include the dates of medical service, particularly any vision tests used to diagnose your low vision. You should also have your personal information, educational background, and work history gathered.
Proving Macular Degeneration Disability Cases
Insurers and the SSA are often reluctant to approve disability claims for various eye impairments, and macular degeneration is not an exception. In many instances, they claim that macular degeneration disability claims fail to adequately support limitations that prevent a patient from continuing with their occupation or engaging in gainful employment. Therefore, it is vital to fully develop your case to prove how severe your condition is.
To receive approval for disability benefits, you should provide records that reflect that your vision is 20/200 or even worse. This helps to prove the challenges of your visual field. You should undergo testing with a professional ophthalmologist or optometrist. The testing requires you to read from a chart using corrective lenses or undergoing visual evoked response testing. All the medical records that demonstrate your visual impairment should be included in your application.
Proving macular degeneration disability claims also depends on the details obtained from your work, medical history for adults, and academic records for minor-age children. As an adult, your vocational history information will allow disability examiners to classify your past work, determine the mental and physical demands of the occupation, and decide if you can perform your past work or whether you can switch to another type of work. It is essential to know that disability insurance companies and the SSA do not award benefits based on having a particular condition. Instead, they base approvals on the extent to which a loss of vision causes functional limitations.
How a Disability Attorney Can Help
Enlisting the services of a disability lawyer to help with your AMD case will do you a big favor. The lawyer will help with gathering the supporting evidence and necessary documentation. Your lawyer will ensure that you have the necessary details on your finances, work history, educational background, and medical records.
A professional attorney will review all your medical records to assess if you meet the criteria to qualify for disability benefits. If any details are missing, the attorney will ensure you obtain the necessary proof, such as test results. treatment notes, and statements or Residual Functional Capacity forms from medical practitioners that detail your limitations, symptoms, and treatment.
A disability lawyer can also help you get the full benefits you are entitled to and avoid risking your claim due to missed deadlines. The lawyer will help prove when your disability started so that you don’t lose any benefits you are entitled to. They will also work with you to avoid mistakes that could jeopardize your case by ensuring you meet any deadlines for filing an appeal for a macular degeneration disability claim denial or submitting information.
Get Help from the Professionals at Ortiz Law Firm
At Ortiz Law Firm, we have represented hundreds of clients in long term disability appeals and lawsuits, as well as at every stage of the Social Security Disability claims process. We have custom Residual Functional Capacity forms that are specific to macular degeneration symptoms, treatment, and side effects, which we will send to your doctor. We will obtain all of the medical evidence necessary to help you qualify got benefits. We offer a free consultation, so you can seek help with your claim without paying any fees upfront, and we only charge an attorney’s fee if your case is successful.
What Makes Us Special?
Expertise and Track Record
As disability attorneys, we have a unique focus and spend time honing our knowledge and skills in aspects of disability law. We understand all areas of the Social Security Administration and can provide you with the information you need on disability topics. We have recovered millions in benefits, which means we know how to handle a claim and how to sidestep the challenges we might face during the disability review process. We will be happy to provide a concise picture of our track record and approval rates during your free consultation.
Availability and Dedication
Our legal counsel understands the significance of your claim for macular degeneration disability benefits. Therefore, we are dedicated to providing top-notch quality service to all our clients. We make ourselves available to give your claim the time and focus it deserves to succeed. You can rest assured that we will check in with you at least once a month. Better still, our support staff will always be available to address your concerns and give timely returns to calls after you leave a message.
Professionalism and Honesty
From your initial phone call to the end of your consultation, how you are treated will give you a snapshot of how courteous and professional Ortiz Law Firm is. We are dedicated to providing the best possible service to each of our clients. You can expect knowledgeable advice and polite communication. We are also honest and upfront with you. We will assess your claim and give realistic expectations. Further, you’ll be acquainted with a realistic timetable for your macular degeneration disability claim.
Contact us Today!
Although legal representation is not required to file a long term disability appeal or to start a Social Security Disability claim, it will be in your best interest to consult with a law firm that specializes in disability claims. During your free consultation, we will advise you on the best way to approach your case and give you an understanding of how the disability review will proceed. We will walk you through the entire process. Feel to call us today at (866) 853-7210 to schedule a free and non-obligatory consultation. You can also submit a brief description of your claim through our website, and we will contact you as soon as possible to discuss your AMD disability case.