The Requirements to Receive Disability for A Vision Impairment

by | Aug 22, 2023 | Uncategorized

The Social Security Administration (SSA) has a category of qualifying disabilities related to vision disorders. If you or a loved one wants to know what is the requirement to get disability for vision impairment, we would like to provide you with helpful information. We can also help you navigate this difficult process to be approved for benefits.

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How Does the SSA Define Vision Disorders?

The SSA defines visual disorders as abnormalities of the eye, the optic nerve, the optic tracts, or the brain that may cause a loss of visual acuity or visual fields. Applicants with visual impairments may have difficulties with daily activities such as distinguishing detail, walking, driving, reading, and socializing.

It is important to know that vision loss can range from total blindness to partial vision loss. There are many known causes of vision loss, and the most common causes include:

  • Glaucoma
  • Diabetic Retinopathy
  • Cytomegalovirus
  • Cataracts

What Are the Primary Qualifications for a Vision Impairment?

You or a loved one can qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) if you are legally blind, statutorily blind, and have earned enough work credits to be considered insured. An applicant may also qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) if historically unable to work because of a visual disorder.

The SSA maintains standard listings that outline disability related to visual disorders in their “Blue Book.” Specifically, Section 2.00 of the Blue Book contains a listing of visual impairments that are used to evaluate visual disorders. The SSA considers both legal or statutory blindness as a qualified disability.

Legally blind individuals include people who have been blind since birth and are only eligible to receive SSI benefits because, most likely, they never worked before.

Legally blind also includes those individuals that have experienced severe vision loss due to conditions like glaucoma, retinopathy, traumatic injury, and other conditions. These individuals could receive SSDI if they paid Social Security taxes for 5 out of the past 10 years.

– To determine whether an applicant is statutorily blind and may qualify for disability benefits, the vision loss or blindness must meet one of the following requirements:

  • Vision cannot be corrected to better than 20/200 in your better eye, or
  • The visual field is 20 degrees or less in the better eye for a period that lasted or is expected to last at least 12 months.

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Proving Your Vision Impairment Prevents You From Working

The SSA reviews blindness or severe vision loss under strict rules of medical eligibility. To prove that you or a loved one is disabled and cannot work because of decreased vision or blindness, you must provide:

  • A report of an eye examination with measurements of your best-corrected central visual acuity or the extent of your visual fields.
  • Documentation of the cause of the visual acuity or visual field loss.
  • Description of how your visual disorder affects your ability to function if your visual disorder does not satisfy the criteria.

Ultimately, an applicant can receive disability benefits if their vision loss is significant enough to prevent them from engaging in any substantial gainful activity (SGA). This is defined as the amount of income that an individual can generate while still qualifying for disability.

The Social Security Act specifies a higher SGA amount for statutorily blind individuals compared to non-blind individuals. Both amounts generally change from year to year. Consider this progression over the past few years:

  • 2019: $2,040 SGA limit for blind individuals; $1,220 for non-blind
  • 2020: $2,110 SGA for blind; $1,260 for non-blind
  • 2021: $2,190 SGA for blind; $1,310 for non-blind

Talk To A Disability Apply Representative Today

Disability Apply can help you or a loved one understand the complex medical language used by the SSA when evaluating disability for vision impairments. We can also walk you through the severity requirements that are used to evaluate an applicant’s qualifications.

To discuss a visual impairment and eligibility for Social Security Disability benefits, contact us today to receive real assistance from a qualified disability representative.

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Do You Qualify for Social Security Disability Benefits?

    1. Do you expect to be out of work for at least 12 months?

    2. Did you earn taxable income for 5 of the last 10 years?

    3. Are you currently receiving disability benefits?

    4. Have you seen a doctor within the last 12 months?

    5. Are you currently working with a disability advocate?

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