Obtaining Disability Benefits in Canada for Visual Disorders
Applying for visual disability benefits in Canada is difficult, in part because the significance of vision loss as a medical disease is not often acknowledged by benefits providers. This is because, until you are completely blind, you could still appear to be able to work and carry on with everyday activities.
Sometimes it is possible to prevent and quickly treat visual impairment. If neglected, it can cause a major and long-term loss of eyesight. Additionally, a handicap may result in diminished production at a cost to the organization. So, while it is not the smoothest process, applying for disability compensation is practical.
The particular difficulties in requesting assistance for blindness in Canada will be covered in this essay. It will also offer advice and suggestions for actions to take to guarantee a well-earned victory.
You Are Not Alone If You Have a Visual Disorder or Disability
A partial loss of vision is referred to as visual impairment. The visual field or visual acuity may be impacted by this. The former is concerned with visual clarity, whereas 20/20 vision is typically used to refer to perfect eyesight. The latter is a person’s field of vision, which includes both central and peripheral vision. People who show a decline in either one or both of these skills most likely have a visual problem.
Keep in mind that the word “blindness” refers to a loss of eyesight that is almost full or whole. The impacts of other forms of visual impairment are as harmful, despite the fact that blindness is the most widely recognized kind of visual handicap.
- Typical Reasons for Vision Loss
- The most typical causes of eyesight loss are listed below.
- Refractive mistake
When the eye’s anomalies prevent it from appropriately focusing light, a refractive error happens. It is the most typical cause of visual acuity decline. Myopia (short-sightedness), hyperopia (far-sightedness), presbyopia, and astigmatism are a few examples of refractive defects. These ailments are usually inherited or brought on by outside influences. With the use of eyeglasses or contact lenses, people may frequently control refractive defects. Refractive surgery, however, could be necessary for more serious circumstances.
Another significant contributor to vision impairment is cataracts. Poor eyesight is brought on by a cataract, which causes clouding in the eye’s lens. They often come with aging, but they can also be brought on by radiation or solar exposure, ocular damage, genetics, drugs, substance misuse, and diabetes. The majority of the time, cataracts may be corrected with eyeglasses or by having the hazy lens surgically removed.
Glaucoma is brought on by pressure within the eye, which damages the optic nerve and results in blindness. Open-angle, closed-angle, and normal-tension glaucoma are the various forms of the disease. People who are at risk for glaucoma typically have a family history of the disease, which includes headaches, obesity, and high blood pressure. Medication, laser therapy, and surgery are all options for glaucoma treatment. Since there is currently no treatment for glaucoma, these options are only temporary.
Macular aging and degeneration (ARMD)
Over a million Canadians are impacted by ARMD. The center field of vision is distorted or obscured by this disease. It develops with age and affects adult people. The macula in the retina, which is in charge of providing crisp and clear central vision, degenerates in ARMD. There are two varieties of ADMR: dry and moist (neovascular) (non-neovascular). Blood and other fluids escape from blood vessels behind the retina in wet ARMD, harming the retinal cells. The macula is surrounded by decaying tissue that appears as yellow patches in dry ARMD, on the other hand. Medication is used to delay the degenerative process in macular degeneration treatments.
Diabetic retinal disease
The most frequent cause of blindness in Canadian people of working age is diabetic retinopathy. When blood vessels in the retina are harmed by high blood sugar levels, the disease develops. It may have little or no symptoms in the early stages. But if ignored, it can result in blindness. Diabetic retinopathy can affect patients with any form of diabetes, including those with type 1, type 2, and gestational diabetes.
People under the age of 30 frequently suffer eye damage. The optic nerve transmits messages from the eye to the brain, or the eye itself may be physically harmed. The brain’s ability to accurately interpret signals from the optic nerve is hampered by injuries to the brain, particularly those to the occipital lobe. Cortical blindness is a form of visual impairment that can be brought on by stress or exhaustion.
Different Visual Disorders Disability Benefits in Canada
The Canada Pension Plan and Long-term Disability Insurance Compensation are the two sources of disability benefits for Canadian workers with vision impairments.
CPP disability payments for conditions of the eyes
The federal government of Canada’s retirement pension scheme is known as the Canada Pension Plan (CPP). Employers are required to withhold CPP contributions from their employees’ salaries. In addition to retirement benefits, the program also offers disability compensation for employees who become disabled before reaching the retirement age of 60 or 65.
You must have contributed to the CPP during the past four or three of the last six years, respectively, for those who have contributed for at least 25 years, in order to be eligible for disability payments. Additionally, your impairment must be “severe and prolonged.” It is challenging for someone with significant impairment to pursue any lucrative profession. A protracted disability is a chronic, disabling ailment that, if ignored, might get worse and perhaps be fatal.
You are always required to provide evidence. Your application must show not only the existence of the handicap but also its seriousness and persistence. The Department of Employment and Social Development’s Service Canada is in charge of accepting or rejecting requests for disability payments. The Social Security Tribunal hears appeals for rejections.
There are two methods that employees can use to get their applications for CPP disability payments approved. The vast majority of claimants would choose the most basic strategy. Although widely used, this approach is also quite ineffective and frequently disappoints. It is preferable to utilize the Blueprint Strategy, which increases the odds of success by presenting a more compelling tale and providing pertinent documents and material in the application, to prevent delays and denials in the acceptance of a claim.
Advantages of long-term disability insurance for visual impairments
A different category of benefits program offered to Canadians is insurance-based disability programs. There are two different kinds of insurance plans. A group insurance coverage is purchased by your company, whereas an individual insurance policy is purchased by you. Typically, group insurance plans are included in employee benefits packages. Individual policies, on the other hand, are more prevalent among professionals who work for themselves.
Most types of insurance cover people against the possibility of unintentionally losing their capacity to work. When a worker is unexpectedly unable to work due to a disability, long-term disability insurance payments may be requested. When an employee takes extended time off from work, they become eligible for monthly income assistance. These payments may be made as a set monthly sum, a portion of the employee’s monthly compensation, or a hybrid of the two. The insurance policy should specify the sum, maximum time period for obtaining benefits, and other conditions.
For the majority of workers, applying for disability benefits from insurance companies is more difficult than applying for CPP benefits. This is true because private businesses may devote a lot of resources to refuting a claim. Even when a claimant is really handicapped, having a benefits claim granted by the CPP does not ensure that insurance companies will as well.
For this reason, it’s crucial to prepare more than just the “basic minimum claim.” Doing the bare minimum will probably result in a refusal, similar to applying for CPP disability benefits. Technically sound and legally sound applications are presented to insurance firms on a daily basis. Preparing a strong claim that is more thorough and compelling can help you stand out from the other claims.
How to Get Canadian Disability Benefits for Vision
- Keeping records of vision impairment
The claimant’s submission must include thorough documentation of any visual impairments or deficiencies. This is required to demonstrate the employee’s visual impairment and determine whether they are eligible for benefits under the conditions of the benefits provider. These include reports from medical exams on things like visual acuity and the visual field. These data might be supplied by a licensed eye care specialist such as an optometrist, ophthalmologist, or optician.
- Examining for loss of eyesight
The definition of a visual impairment used by benefits providers may not always apply to blurry vision. To determine the greatest possible “corrected” visual acuity, it is essential for employees to get eye exams from an eye doctor. The random E test and a Snellen chart or eye chart are used to measure visual acuity. To be eligible for a visual condition in Canada, a patient’s better eye vision must be no worse than 20/200. The World Health Organization has previously labelled such an eye test result as “severe.”
- Inconsistencies in the phrase “legally blind.”
Insurance firms will argue over the definition of what it means for a worker to be legally blind. However, it is recognized as having “tunnel vision” globally when the better eye’s central visual acuity is reduced to 20/200 (as was discussed in the preceding section) and its visual field is constrained to no more than 20 degrees. Benefits providers, however, could be on the lookout for outcomes that are more in line with the generally recognized definition of blindness, which is visual acuity of less than 20/500 and a visual field of less than 10 degrees. Additionally, some healthcare professionals might only take into account a patient’s measured visual acuity when they are using corrective lenses. Therefore, a claimant must have 20/200 visual acuity in the better eye with eyeglasses or contact lenses in order to be considered legally blind.
- Your Reputation is The greatest evidence for your claim will come from critical medical and job records, but the decision-makers must also have faith in your story. Credibility in a legal context refers to a person’s reliability or plausibility.
Even if you have flimsy proof to support your position, a decision-maker who believes you are trustworthy could choose your side. And even if you have strong proof, a decision-maker who doesn’t trust you won’t give you the benefit of the doubt. Credibility provides you an advantage that is difficult to see.
Make sure all of your assertions are true and able to be supported by substantial evidence while composing your claim. Your benefits provider will deny you if they have any doubts about your reliability. In addition to the medical proof already mentioned, your family, friends, and workplace should be able to support your claims. Inconsistencies in your reporting will raise questions about the veracity of your illness. It’s crucial to demonstrate that you’ve been receiving medical attention and according to your doctor’s recommendations. Your impairment still has a detrimental impact on your life and career, though.
Killers of credibility
contradicting past claims or medical records
Making excuses or putting the blame on others
critiquing the claim’s other parties (even if they deserve it)
Making complaints about experts you believe to be unethical, prejudiced, or unfavorable
using confrontational, combative, or hostile language in your testimony or claim
blocking or delaying justifiable information requests
arguing with physicians over your diagnosis rather than concentrating on your impairment
posing as a medical professional
ensuring that what you say corresponds to the medical records
Accepting responsibility for any mistakes or issues with your claim (not blaming others)
being respectful and helpful with everyone involved in the claim
taking guidance and judgments from experts
attempting in good faith to follow all recommendations, regardless of whether you agree with them
clear attempts to continue working
- Clearly describe the requirements of the position.
To demonstrate that you are unable to execute the duties of your position, you must be able to define what your employment includes. Although it may seem apparent to you, your benefits provider may not always understand it. For instance, visual impairments pose a risk to occupations like flying, working as a fireman, becoming a police officer, and others that demand exceptional eyesight. Even though your profession doesn’t always need 20/20 vision, visual problems might nevertheless have an impact on your work expectations. For instance, a software developer who suffers from a visual problem can find it difficult to write code. Therefore, it’s crucial to be able to justify why your vision condition keeps you from doing your job’s obligations. Ensure that your benefits provider is aware of your employment responsibilities and how your disorder impacts your capacity to perform them.
Winning and Maintaining Your Canadian Vision Disability Benefits
Even if you receive approval for benefits for a vision handicap, you will still experience difficulties. Insurance companies sometimes stop making benefits payments even before the predetermined time frame. This could happen to certain employees a month after they start getting benefits.
It is crucial to record any modifications that must be done in order to satisfy the insurance provider. Continuing disability reviews, such as monthly update reports, and enrollment in rehabilitation programs are some of these prerequisites. These appear to be simple regular practices on the surface, but they also provide insurance companies the chance to justify denying future payouts.
It can be difficult and time-consuming to file a claim for benefits for any kind of impairment, but success is achievable, especially when an application goes above and beyond the “basic minimum.”
What You Can Do If You’re Refused Disability Benefits for a Visual Disorder
You’ve completed all the paperwork and provided all the supporting documentation you can. A few weeks later, you get a letter rejecting your claim for disability payments. This implies that regardless how miserable your situation is, you must return to work.
This is heartbreaking news that only makes your disorder’s misery even worse. Thankfully, you don’t have to take the rejection lying down and carry your troubles for the rest of your days. The decision made by Service Canada or your insurance provider may still be appealed.
If you wish to understand about your alternatives following a refusal, download our books.