Many people in the United States and around the world are blind. In the U.S. in 2012, 21 million adults had some degree of vision loss, according to the American Foundation for the Blind. Of all these people, only a small fraction received Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits in 2012. It is important for blind people to know that they may have this important resource available to them if they meet eligibility requirements.
People with blindness are often unable to work. As a result, according to some estimates, many are below or only slightly above the poverty line. The Social Security Administration (SSA) recognizes the challenges blind people face in work and daily life. To encourage them to return to work, the SSA allows recipients of disability benefits to earn more income working (Substantial Gainful Activity, or SGA) than beneficiaries with other impairments. In other words, the threshold for earning is higher for people determined to be blind by the SSA.
At the Law Office of Charles E. Binder and Harry J. Binder, we know the challenges blind people face. We stand ready to help at any stage of a claim for SSD benefits. To learn how we can assist, please call from anywhere in the United States at 1-212-365-5018. Or contact us online for a free consultation.
Having a diagnosis of macular degeneration, cataracts or retinopathy is not enough to qualify someone for SSD benefits. Rather, the SSA measures visual acuity to determine eligibility. To be eligible for SSD benefits, a person must have vision that cannot be corrected to better than 20/200 or have a visual field of 20 degrees or less in the better eye.
Although people must meet the threshold described above to be considered blind by the SSA, they may still be able to receive disability benefits if their vision loss combined with other problems prevents them from working.