01 Apr Disability Benefits for Vision-Related Conditions
A person suffering from a condition related to their vision faces significant challenges. Further, there are numerous different conditions that affect a person’s vision. Individuals with an impairment to their vision may continue to work, while still needing benefits to help with their condition. There are special rules related to Social Security disability insurance (SSDI) benefits for conditions related to vision.
A person is considered blind if their vision cannot be corrected to better than 20/200 in their strong eye or if the person has a visual field of 20 degrees or less, even with corrective lenses. As a result of this definition, a person may be considered legally blind but still have some sight. Importantly, it is not necessary to provide documentation as to how the blindness occurred.
There are numerous other conditions that impact a person’s ability to see that fall short of being legally blind. Under the Social Security Administration (SSA) Blue Book, visual disorders are abnormalities of the eye, optic nerve, optic tracts, or the brain that may cause a loss of visual acuity or visual fields. The loss of visual acuity, fields, or efficiency may be considered disabling and make an individual with these conditions eligible for SSDI benefits. A loss of visual acuity impairs a person’s ability to distinguish detail, read, or complete fine work. A loss of visual fields impairs a person’s ability to perceive objects in their peripheral vision.
An individual is eligible for SSDI benefits if they have a long enough work history and paid social security taxes. The monthly earnings limit is $1,820 for people who are blind and collecting benefits but still working. The earnings limit for individuals who are disabled but not blind is $1,090. A person making over the earnings limit is deemed to be engaging in Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) and is ineligible for benefits.
Further, for blind individuals who are older than 55 years of age and have earnings that exceed the monthly earnings limit, benefits are not terminated if the work being performed involves a lower level of skill and ability than the work the person performed before turning 55. Instead, benefits are suspended and are paid for any month that earnings fall below the limit.
It is important to take note of the deductions from earnings for disability-related work expenses as these deductions allow an individual to earn more than the monthly earnings limit and still qualify for SSDI benefits. Some of these expenses include:
- A seeing eye dog
- Transportation to and from work
- Attendant care services
- Visual and sensory aids
- Translation of materials into braille
In addition to obtaining benefits based solely on visual impairment, a person may receive SSDI benefits if their vision problems, combined with other health issues, prevent their ability to work.
Help with your Claim
Visual impairments present unique challenges but can be overcome if the individual is provided with the correct aids. In order to obtain these aids, resources are often required. If you have a vision-related condition and believe you may be eligible for SSDI benefits, contact the South Carolina attorneys at the Klok Law Firm LLC today.