Blepharospasm is a condition of the eye which causes involuntary, abnormal blinking and spasms of the eyelids. Although the direct cause of Blepharospasm is not known, medical experts suggest the condition is caused by the abnormal function of the basal ganglion, the part of the brain which controls muscles. Recently on our disability forum a user asked, I have severe blepharospasms and have difficulty performing work. Can I qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance for my condition?
Symptoms of Blepharospasms
If you suffer from blepharospasm the condition may have appeared without warning, and it may be accompanied by the following:
Sensitivity to bright lights
Inability to stay focused
Unnatural lip movements including grimacing and puckering
Treatment options for Blepharospasms
Unfortunately, there is no known treatment for this condition, although some options may exist to reduce the severity of your condition. For example, some medical experts have successfully helped claimants suffering with blepharospasm by injecting Botox into the muscles surrounding the eyelids or using Botulinum toxin to paralyze the eyelid muscles. The most severe cases may also be treated with surgery. Other options may include chiropractic treatment, nutritional changes, acupuncture, and hypnosis, although there is some disagreement about the effectiveness of these alterative treatment options.
Without treatment Blepharospasm can get worse, although it generally reaches its worst level of severity within a few months. Some patients, however, may experience continuous degeneration and may experience issues throughout their lower face, body or neck.
SSDI benefits and Blepharospasms
To qualify for SSDI benefits for any condition you will have to meet certain medical and nonmedical requirements. For instance, you will need to have enough work credits to be considered insured for SSDI benefits, you cannot be working and making too much money when you apply for SSDI, your condition will have to last for at least 12 continuous months, and your condition will have to be so severe that you cannot perform substantial gainful activity.
Determining disability for blepharospasm
To make the disability determination the SSA will review whether your condition is listed on their SSA Listing of Impairments under 2.00 Special Senses and Speech. Blepharospasm is not currently listed in this section so you will have to prove your condition is a severe as a listed condition and its corresponding symptoms.
If your blepharospasm does not meet or exceed a listing you will have to prove you do not have the residual capacity to work. This is done through the medical vocational allowance process. Because the disability determination is made based solely on the medical evidence you provide to the SSA, you will need to have discussions with your doctor about your daily living limitations, daily changes of your condition, accommodations, and your functional limitations to work.
You will also need to have objective medical evidence for your condition including a visual acuity tests, visual range tests, comments about photophobia (light sensitivity), and what activities may precipitate or aggravate the symptoms. The goal of your medical evidence is to prove that although your condition may not meet or exceed a listing, for all intensive purposes, you are functionally blind and cannot work.