Blindness and Low Vision BenefitsPosted April 29, 2016 by Premier Disability Services, LLC® Social Security treats blindness as a unique condition and makes many special accommodations for the legally blind. Firstly, the legal definition of blindness is vision worse than 20/200 in the better eye, or if your visual field is 20 degrees or less. If a person is blind in only one eye then Social Security will not treat them as legally blind. It is also worth noting your vision must be worse than 20/200 even when using a corrective contact lens or glasses. After being declared legally blind, Social Security will apply a different standard for calculating coverage for the Date Last Insured; this allows blind people to apply for benefits even if they have not worked in recent years.
Many people applying for Social Security benefits have severe vision problems but are not legally blind. Social Security recognizes that low vision or poor vision can significantly affect your ability to work. Many essential job functions may be affected by poor vision, such as looking at a computer screen, reading, typing, or even working with small objects. Poor vision can be dangerous when working with machinery or hazardous materials as well. If a person is completely blind in one eye, the loss of depth perception may limit their ability to work with heights or reach for objects. Social Security may recognize that people with low vision require irregular workplace accommodations such as large type, the use of a cane, or having a service dog. However, many of these must be prescribed or recommended by a doctor.
Many people suffering from glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, or permanent eye damage may not meet the criteria for being legally blind, but poor vision can be a deciding factor in your case. As always, consistent treatment and regular testing is important to establish vision as a disabling condition. If you or someone you know has blindness or low vision it may be worth considering an application for Social Security Disability benefits. We can provide a free evaluation of your claim and make sure Social Security recognizes the importance of this condition.
By: Zach Rein of Premier Disability Services, LLC®