Most of us are visually oriented. We use sight for everything from finding to the grocery store, to picking the best produce, to recognizing our next-door neighbor, Ted. We cannot imagine how different the world would be without sight. Yet, for thousands of Americans, loss of vision is a reality.
According to the World Health Organization, about 75,000 Americans become blind each year. In the US, the leading causes of blindness in adults are:
- Macular degeneration
- Diabetic retinopathy
- Eye injuries
When you lose your vision, your whole life changes. You have to find new ways of doing the things you have always done. For example, you need to learn to get around without driving. You may no longer be able to work.
The Social Security Administration (SSA) offers disability benefits to those who are blind or visually impaired.
SSDI is available to those who have previously worked and paid Social Security taxes. The amount of time a person must have worked will depend on his or her age. SSI is available to disabled Americans who meet certain income limits, regardless of work history. To qualify for Social Security disability benefits, you must have a documented disability, and you must meet certain income guidelines. The income guidelines will depend on the amount of vision loss.
Are you legally blind?
The SSA defines “legally blind” as meeting one of the following conditions:
- 20/200 vision in the better eye after maximum correction
- A field of vision that is limited to 20 degrees or less at its widest point
Even those who are not legally blind may qualify for Social Security disability benefits.
You do not have to be “legally blind” to receive Social Security disability insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI). While the Social Security Administration does not have a listing for “low vision,” you may still qualify for Social Security disability benefits if you can show that your vision loss, combined with any other health problems, is serious enough to prevent you from working. You will have to have medical documentation of “low vision” and any other health problems, and you will have to prove exactly how your impairment prevents you from working.
We can help.
Not sure if you qualify? Our Philadelphia disability lawyers can help you through every step of the Social Security application process, from determining if you are eligible for SSDI, to filing an appeal. To schedule a free case evaluation, contact Mednick, Mezyk, and Kredo at 888-807-WORK.