There are a number of government programs that provide assistance to people who are blind or visually impaired. The Social Security Administration offers Social Security disability and Supplemental Security Income benefits to people who meet the qualification criteria. This blog post will provide some information on how a Houston claimant might qualify for these benefits.
Claimants may be eligible for SSD benefits or SSI benefits if they meet Social Security’s definition of blindness. To meet this definition, claimants must have certain vision impairments that are expected to last or have lasted at least 12 months. If the claimant has vision that cannot be corrected to better than 20/200 in their better eye, or if the claimant has a visual field that is 20 degrees or less in their better eye, then they may qualify for benefits if the impairment is expected to last or has lasted at least 12 months.
Can a person qualify for disability benefits if they do not meet these specific criteria? Yes. A person who doesn’t meet these criteria could still qualify for benefits if their vision problems prevent them from working, or if their vision problems, combined with other health problems, prevent them from working. There are other requirements claimants must meet before they can begin collecting benefits.
What about blind people who are still working? If they are earning less now than before the onset of their visual impairment, they may benefit from a disability freeze. This is where the Social Security Administration does not use the period of lower earnings to compute average lifetime earnings for determination of Social Security disability or old-age benefits. Workers who want to qualify for the freeze should get in touch with the Social Security Administration.
Source: Social Security Administration, “If You’re Blind Or Have Low Vision – How We Can Help,” accessed on Feb. 4, 2018