It is difficult to know how many people in America are vision impaired, because the definition does vary. Different terminology is used to define a variety of vision-related medical conditions.
It’s estimated that around 6.6 million people within the United States are either visually impaired or blind. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that vision impairment means, as a term, that the individual’s eyesight cannot be corrected to a “normal” level. Both the CDC and the World Health Organization (WHO) define having low vision as having the visual acuity of 20/70 and 20/400, with 20/400 being the best possible correction for the individual.
Being visually impaired doesn’t automatically equal having a disability that forces you out of work, and visual impairment alone won’t be enough to qualify for disability benefits in most cases. In fact, the Social Security Administration (SSA) states that you are considered blind only when your vision can’t be improved above 20/200 or if your sight in the better eye is 20 degrees or less (and expected to be the same or worse for the next 12 months).
You may still be able to qualify for disability benefits if you don’t meet those requirements. Vision problems, especially when combined with other health issues, could prevent you from working. If you’re struggling to work due to your health, then you may be able to show how your life has been affected and get the benefits that you believe you’re entitled to.
Your attorney can help you seek benefits for visual impairments or talk to you more about what to do if your claim has been denied. As of 2020, you can earn up to $2,110 a month and still receive disability benefits if you meet the SSA’s criteria for blindness.