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Retinitis Pigmentosa Disability Benefits

  • Published: December 19, 2019

Retinitis pigmentosa disability benefits may be available if you have an individual or group LTD plan and meet eligibility requirements. If you are suffering from this condition and it prevents you from completing your work duties, you should consider filing for LTD benefits. Learn more about retinitis pigmentosa and how to obtain benefits below. Call CJ Henry Law Firm, PLLC for more information about your specific condition and your next best steps.


Retinitis pigmentosa (RP) is a rare genetic disorder that involve the cells of the retina, or the lining of the back of the eye, to break down and the cells die. It can begin at any period of life, from infancy to old age. However, for most people the degeneration is most rapid later in life.

This condition initially causes difficulty seeing at night and a loss of peripheral vision. However, as the condition progresses, it may also lead to blurred vision when reading and driving. Recognizing faces can become difficult or impossible. RP can eventually lead to complete loss of sight.

Common symptoms of RP include:

  • Tiredness of the eyes and face muscles
  • Difficulty separating colors
  • Lattice effect
  • Difficulty adjusting to differing light levels
  • Tunnel vision
  • Blurred vision

There is more than one type of RP and varying degrees of severity. However, they can all lead to impairment as the disorder progresses. There is typically a slow progression from good vision to gradual loss of vision.

RP is characterized by a well-recognized pattern of progression. For the first 10 years, the condition typically progresses slowly, and then for the next two decades the condition accelerates. After that, the progression slows again. Thus, there is a variable aspect to the disorder.

Because of the dramatic impact to your life, retinitis pigmentosa can often lead to mental and emotional issues, like depression and anxiety.


The impacts of RP can be challenging to prove in a disability claim. Many of the symptoms are self-reported and insurance companies may question the severity. LTD insurance companies also avoid conditions that involve depression, anxiety, and other emotional conditions. It can be difficult to prove these conditions. The insurance company may even try to deny the claim by turning it into a mental-nervous claim. Policies sometimes exclude mental claims or limit their benefits to a certain period of time, often 24 months.


It is possible to work while having RP; however, if your job requires you to have the ability to see, then you would have to learn new skills to cope. RP creates a challenges when there are not skills to take the place of being able to see what you are doing at work. There are many new technologies that help vision-challenged individuals in the workplace, but companies must consider safety and ability to complete job duties even with those technologies in place.

For example, a surgeon who cannot see would no longer be able to complete their work duties regardless of the coping technologies developed. Most doctors must be able to see their patients to make decisions about treatment and ongoing care.


While many people see an optometrist to get glasses and for an annual check up of their eyes, you will likely need to see an eye specialist who deals with retinitis pigmentosa. Opthamologists and others are medical doctors who specialize in treatment of these types of eye conditions. It’s important to get these records to the LTD insurance company when making a claim. You will need a positive diagnosis of retinitis pigmentosa by a specialist to support your claim.

You will also have to show that your condition has progressed to an extent that you can no longer complete your work duties. That may require showing that your vision cannot be improved more than 20/200 when wearing corrective lenses. That number has been used by the Social Security Administration when determining listing requirements of someone who is visually impaired, and will be convincing evidence to your LTD insurance company as well.

It’s important to attend all medical appointments when you are treating your condition. That includes mental health treatment and other doctor’s appointments. The LTD insurance company will want to see that you are following all medical professional orders in order to reduce the severity of your symptoms. If you do not follow treatment regimens, your claim may be denied or terminated.


CJ Henry Law Firm, PLLC has helped countless individuals with their LTD insurance claims. We are familiar with the companies’ tactics to deny and delay claims. We will help protect your rights and work with you to get the best possible outcome. Call us today for information about your specific case.

Claudeth Henry

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