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Don't Be In The Dark About Our Legal System

Hello, I'm Karla Mitchell. Going through a legal case can be very expensive and challenging. I won't go into details, but I recently underwent my own legal battle that lasted several years. It is finally over and I successfully received a settlement, but I had to spend so much time studying law in order to play my role in my own court case. While I found a great attorney at one point, I felt completely lost initially and I don't want anyone else to experience the same thing. So I decided to create this blog for those who would like to know more about law.


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Don't Be In The Dark About Our Legal System

What You Need To Know About Disability Benefits for Stroke Victims With Vision Problems

by Andrew Martin

Experts estimate that nearly 800,000 Americans have a stroke every year. A stroke can lead to permanent injuries and disabilities for hundreds of thousands of these people every year, and the side effects are often so severe that sufferers can no longer work. In the United States, the Social Security Administration offers disability benefits to people who cannot work as a result of a stroke, and there are various disability listings that could entitle you to benefits. Learn more about the disability benefits available to people with stroke-related vision problems, and find out what you may need to do to successfully file a claim.

How can a stroke can affect your vision?

Around 87 percent of people who suffer from a stroke experience an ischemic stroke. This occurs when there is a problem with the blood flow to the brain from a blood clot or abnormal bleeding. For example, if a blood vessel bursts, blood can leak into the brain, causing permanent damage.

According to where the bleeding occurs, stroke victims can experience different side effects. If you suffer from a stroke that affects the right side of your brain, you're more likely to experience problems with your vision. In this part of the brain, the stroke damage the eye's visual pathways, which can result in temporary or permanent vision loss.

For some stroke victims, the damage causes issues with your visual field, which means you may find it difficult to see straight ahead or to one side. Other common stroke-related visual problems include eye muscle or nerve damage. As a result of this damage, many stroke victims end up with double vision and/or light sensitivity.

What does the Blue Book say about stroke injuries?

The SSA maintains a register of conditions that automatically qualify for disability benefits, which most people refer to as the Blue Book. Some physical symptoms of stroke automatically allow people to claim disability benefits. Under section 11.04 (central nervous system vascular accidents), you can claim benefits if you suffer with sensory or motor aphasia, which means you can no longer effectively speak or communicate. You can also claim if you suffer from a permanent disability that limits motor function in two extremities.

A stroke-related vision problem would not qualify for benefits under section 11.04, but you may still claim if your injury falls under another section of the Blue Book.

Who can claim under the Blue Book section 2?

Section 2 of the Blue Book relates to problems with the special senses and speech. Within this part of the Blue Book, the SSA describes various medical conditions related to your eyesight that will allow you to claim disability benefits. Generally speaking, you will qualify for benefits if a stroke causes:

  • Loss of visual acuity (where your remaining vision after the best possible correction is still 20/200 or less).
  • Contraction of the visual field in your better eye.
  • Loss of visual efficiency or visual impairment in your better eye.

In all cases, your disability must still meet certain criteria. For example, if you want to claim for loss of visual efficiency, an eyesight test must show that you have a visual efficiency percentage of 20 or less after the best possible correction.

What's more, if you are to qualify for benefits, a medical professional must confirm that the vision problem is likely to last for at least 12 months.

What happens if you don't qualify under a disability listing?

You can still sometimes claim disability benefits if you don't meet the requirements of a disability listing. In these cases, the SSA will carry out a residual functional capacity (RFC) analysis. An RFC analysis considers all the relevant evidence to establish if it's possible for you to work.

An RFC will consider each case on its merits, and your age, job skills and education level are all relevant. For example, an older person may have a vision problem that is progressively becoming worse. In this case, although the person's eyesight may not yet meet the SSA criteria, an RFC analysis may show that it is already unlikely that he or she can work effectively, and, perhaps more importantly, this situation won't improve.

For many people, a stroke can lead to a permanent disability, and vision problems are a common side effect of this condition. Talk to law firms like Todd East Attorney at Law for more information and advice.