Impairments Don’t Meet Listing, But Edward is Disabled, Nonetheless

“Edward,” age 30 and considered a younger individual by the Social Security Administration, has been granted Social Security Disability benefits.

He had not worked in nearly three years at the time of his hearing before the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR), at which he was represented by Attorney Neil H. Good.

Edward has two years of college education and vocational training. He worked in customer service and prior to that worked in sales and was also in the advertising business. He suffers from congenital bilateral corneal lattice dystrophy, with increasingly opaque corneas. Several family members, including his mother, suffer from the same condition. Glasses provide no improvement and he needs help with many aspects of daily life. Beyond the vision problems, Illinois disability Attorney Good said in his pre-hearing memo, Edward also has ADHD, sleep problems, fatigue, anxiety, phobias, and psychomotor agitation, among other issues. Medications include Acular, Acuflox, Cilson, Muro, Vigamox, Lortab, and Adderall.

The judge found Edward has the following severe impairments: bilateral corneal lattice dystrophy and depression. The judge ruled Edward does not have an impairment or combo of impairments that meets or medically equals the severity of one of the listed impairments, but that his ability to work is so limited that he was found “disabled” and eligible for benefits.

In the ruling, the judge said Edward has moderate restriction in activities of daily living, mild difficulties in maintaining social functioning, marked difficulties in maintaining concentration, persistence, or pace, and no episodes of decompensation, each of extended duration.

Records indicated that Edward’s vision problems were so acute he could no longer read, drive, or work.

“After careful consideration of the entire record, the undersigned finds that the claimant is unable to sustain any work activity due to his visual impairments,” the judge said. He also found that Edward’s job skills do not transfer to other occupations within the residual functional capacity and that “considering the claimant’s age, education, work experience and residual functional capacity, there are no jobs that exist in significant numbers in the national economy that the claimant can perform.”

The judge also said Edward’s ability to work “at all exertional levels has been compromised by nonexertional limitations. These limitations so narrow the range of work the claimant might otherwise perform that a finding of “disabled” is appropriate under the framework of section 204.000 in the Medical-Vocational Guidelines.”

The fully favorable decision came one week after the ODAR hearing.