Eye Conditions May Entitle You to VA Compensation and Social Security DisabilityThursday, October 13, 2016
If you have an injury or disease that affects your eyesight, you may be entitled to VA disability compensation and Social Security disability. Eye conditions are often very difficult to present to a court because the language of eye doctors’ treatment notes is totally different from other medical conditions. So, to figure out someone’s eye disability, we have to decipher charts and graphs and abbreviations like “OS” and “OD” (respectively, the left and right eye) and then apply that information to VA and Social Security regulations.
A common misunderstanding about VA disability is that congenital diseases (i.e, eye disease caused by genetics) are not compensable at all. We have read VA decisions that say as much, but they are incorrect. The law is that if the condition is a disease that affects everyone differently, then it is compensable as a VA disability if it is first diagnosed during military service, or if the symptoms first are identified during service. Of course, the disease has to significantly affect vision for it to be compensable. You don’t have to be totally disabled to be compensated though, as VA can award partial disability of 0 to 100%. VA can also award Individual Unemployability if you are unable to work, which compensates you at the benefit amount for 100%, even though your overall rating may not be 100%.
Social Security disability, on the other hand, usually requires that the eye condition results in the inability to work. Sometimes total disability is not required, as Social Security considers your age, education and work history. So, it’s possible that you could be able to perform some types of work and still be found disabled under their rules.
Do not simply accept what the VA or Social Security tells you if they deny your case. Instead, seek competent advice before you decide whether or not to appeal. While eye cases can be more difficult than other kinds of cases, in many circumstances they should be awarded.
If you have any questions, contact us at 1-800-728-0434.