Filing for Disability - Blind in one eye and a Learning Disability, Do I have a Case?

"I'm blind in one eye and I have learning disability I'm 21 and live with my parents I've never been employed I'm considering filing a claim however I'm not sure If i have a case"

A person can be approved for title II benefits (Social Security Disability) or title 16 benefits (SSI disability) on the basis of a mental condition or physical condition. As a disability examiner, it was the exception for me to ever see a case that did not involve multiple medical conditions. And, usually, the claimant listed both physical and mental condition. For example, degenerative disc disease and depression, or fibromyalgia and attention deficit.

In your particular case, due to your age, I have to wonder if you are insured for Social Security Disability. If you are not, you would need to have your application for disability filed under SSI. However, your insured status and the program that your claim is filed under would be determined by the social security office that does the intake for your claim.

I think the question we should focus on is whether or not you have a case. And, to be honest, that may not be something you can determine in advance of filing for disability. You may wish to speak with a disability attorney prior to filing. However, even that individual may not be able to ascertain this. Often, the only way to know how a case stands is to first review the medical evidence. That's not something you should do on your own, of course. And, as contrary as this may sound, that's not even something your own doctor would be competent in doing (because physicians typically have no understanding of the disability criteria used by the Social Security Administration to determine eligibility for disability benefits).

But...unless you have copies of your records to take to a consultation with a disability attorney or non-attorney disability representative, there may be little for that individual to go on. True, some representatives will decides to take a case or decline to take a case based on the information you provide during the initial consultation, but it has been my experience that this is often a very poor way to screen cases. There are many instances in which a claimant or potential claimant will not realize what is actually in their records. In certain instances, they may even be unaware of what each of their diagnoses are. can seek a consultation with a disability representative and see what sort of input you receive. However, the real standard for deciding whether or not you should file for disability is this: does your overall condition currently prevent you from engaging in work activity at a level that allows you to earn what the Social Security Administration refers to as a substantial and gainful income, a.k.a. SGA?

If the answer to that question is yes, then you should file for disability with your local Social Security office. After the claim is started, it will be assigned to a disability examiner who will get your evidence together, evaluate it, and make a decision. If you get denied, don't worry about it. Statistically, most claims are at the first level. But, at that point, you will have medical records associated with your file and a prospective disability representative may be in a better position to give you feedback on your chances, and possibly provide representation services.

My personal preference is not to do this online since the online process does not allow an SSI claim with a protected filing date to be taken. This, plus the fact that many claims are concurrent, meaning they involve both SSI and SSD, allows to easily point someone toward contacting a local office and doing the claim with a live CR, or claims representative. Speaking with a CR in person (the interview can be done over the phone, too) allows you to actually ask questions and receives answers to your questions.

And, in actuality, there are few instances where a claim is started online and a CR does not have to contact you anyway to resolve questions about the claim you started online. All of this being the case, why bother with doing the claim online (provided, of course, that it is feasible for you to get to a local Social Security office)?

About the Author: Tim Moore is a former Social Security Disability Examiner in North Carolina, has been interviewed by the NY Times and the LA Times on the disability system, and is an Accredited Disability Representative (ADR) in North Carolina. For assistance on a disability application or Appeal in NC, click here.

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