Being blind is completely different than having bad eyesight. People who cannot see perfectly can have their vision corrected with glasses, contacts, or surgery. However, there is no way to fix blindness. Suffering from blindness can make it incredibly difficult to find a job, especially a high-paying job, which is why so many blind individuals wonder if they qualify for Social Security disability benefits. Fortunately, the Social Security Administration (SSA) does provide disability benefits to people who are blind.
How the Social Security Administration Defines Blindness
Before learning about disability benefits, it’s important to understand how the SSA defines blindness. The SSA believes someone is blind when there is no way to improve their vision beyond 20/200 in their better eye. You can also meet their definition of blindness if your visual field is 20 degrees or less in your better eye. This cannot be a short-term visual impairment, either. It must last or be expected to last for at least one year to be considered blindness.
You should not assume that you do not qualify for benefits simply because you are not completely blind. Because of the way blindness is defined by the SSA, many people who are classified as blind can still see and get around without assistance, although their vision is severely impaired.
SSI vs. SSDI Benefits For Blind Individuals
People who are blind may qualify for either Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. However, it’s important to note that being blind does not automatically qualify you for either one of these Social Security benefit programs.
SSI is a needs-based program, which means these benefits are only awarded to low-income people. If you earn above a certain amount of income every month, you will not qualify for these benefits. Typically, the monthly earnings limit is higher for people who are blind than the limit for non-blind people.
SSDI is not a needs-based program, however it is only awarded to applicants who have worked long enough to qualify. If you earn more than the SSI monthly earning limit, you may qualify for this program instead.
If you are blind, contact our experienced attorneys to find out if you qualify for disability benefits. We can assist you with the application process to ensure you are awarded the benefits you deserve. Please call Armstrong & Vaught, P.L.C. today at 918-582-2500, toll free at (800) 722-8880, or contact us online for a free consultation with a skilled attorney.