How Do Vision Problems Qualify for Disability Benefits?

Monday’s post mentioned several changes that the Social Security Administration (“SSA”) was considering making to the evaluation of people suffering from vision disorders. The changes are not major, as they aim to make the vision evaluation process a bit easier for medical professionals and applicants trying to determine if they have a qualifying disability. In many ways, the SSA already makes the disability process for Americans suffering from vision problems easier than for other applicants. Those with vision problems should take advantage of these programs when applying for disability benefits.

What Vision Problems Qualify for Disability Benefits?

Social Security Disability Insurance (“SSDI”) benefits or Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”) benefits may be available if you are legally blind. The SSA considers you legally blind if you cannot correct your vision beyond 20/200 in your better eye, or if your visual field is 20 degrees or less.

If you are not legally blind, you may still qualify for SSDI or SSI benefits. You meet the definition of “disabled” if you are unable to work for a year or more due to a medical problem. Even if you are not legally blind, you may have vision problems (or your vision problems may combine with another disability) that prevent you from working. We always recommend speaking with a Tulsa SSI expert if you are concerned about your eligibility for disability benefits.

What Extra Benefits Does the SSA Provide for those with Vision Problems?

  • The SSA provides a “disability freeze” for those earning less due to their vision problems; the freeze excludes those working years from later benefits calculations, so that future benefits are a higher amount
  • Legally blind beneficiaries can work much more in a month without having to stop their benefits than other disability beneficiaries ($1,690 versus $1,010)
  • For those over 55 and legally blind, in some cases, even if you earn more than $1,690 in a month the SSA will simply suspend your disability benefits rather than end them altogether

Have you received disability assistance for vision problems? How was the application process different for you?

Troutman & Troutman, P.C. – Tulsa Social Security disability lawyers

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