SSD BENEFITS FOR THE BLIND
SSD benefits for the blind are available under SSA’s laws. In order to qualify for Social Security Disability benefits due to blindness, you will need to provide evidence that shows you meet the visual listings. The visual listings for blindness include people who have been blind since birth.
In addition, it applies to those that have severe vision loss due to conditions like glaucoma, retinopathy, and traumatic injury. In fact, the blind can qualify for disability and still continue to work while receiving monthly benefits, provided they meet all requirements.
SSD BENEFITS FOR THE BLIND FALL UNDER LISTING 2.00
Listing 2.00 contains a variety of ways to meet the criteria for blindness. If you meet the criteria you will be found disabled. However, in order to meet the listing, you must have specific testing. Most of the testing must be done by a ophthalmologist. For example, you may need to test your visual acuity or your visual field. These tests are crucial to obtaining benefits.
If you do not have a physician or you need your sight to be tested, the SSA will send you out for the proper tests. The SSA will send you to a visual specialist. These tests will be done at no cost to you. But, in order to obtain testing, you have to apply for benefits first. Go online to www.ssa.gov to apply for benefits. The SSA considers the following factors in reviewing a disability claim for blindness.
- Loss of central visual acuity (2.02) – this listing covers loss in your central field of vision and requires you see no better than 20/200 in your better eye.
- Contraction of the visual field in the better eye (2.03) – you can qualify under this listing if you have a shrinking field of vision. Your doctor must measure your vision with specific tests and must record what you’re able to see when you’re focusing on a fixed point. This listing requires reports of your visual field, which is the distance in all directions from the fixed point on which you’re focused. That diameter must be no greater than 20 to 30 degrees. In other words, your visual field must be very narrow.
- Loss of visual efficiency, or visual impairment (2.04) – this listing covers issues that cause blurry or unfocused vision or absence of vision (total blindness). To qualify, you must have a vision in your better eye that is no greater than 20/200 when wearing corrective lenses.
BLINDNESS AND EARNING WORK CREDITS FOR DISABILITY INSURANCE COVERAGE
The visual listings can be very difficult to understand. In fact, you may call the SSA and tell them you are blind and can’t work. However, they may say you do not qualify to apply benefits because you do not have sufficient work credits. Therefore, they will claim you don’t have insurance and can’t get disability payments.
In other words, the SSA may say you are not “insured.” This could be inaccurate. The SSA calculates coverage differently for those who have certain visual impairments. Make sure you apply for benefits, even if the SSA tells you not to do so.
If you are blind, do not be deterred in filing a claim for benefits. You may qualify for benefits even if you are blind and working. You should go to ssa.gov and file a claim anyway. Many SSA workers do not understand that the rules are different for those who are blind. If the person you talk to on the phone is wrong, then the only way to protect your rights is to file a claim for benefits. You cannot appeal an SSA decision, unless you file an application. All rights to disability benefits depend on you filing an application.
ASK THE SSA ABOUT A DISABILITY FREEZE IF YOU ARE BLIND
The SSA has a special rule that may help you get higher retirement or disability benefits someday. You can use this rule if you are blind, but aren’t getting disability benefits now because you are still working. If your earnings are lower because you are blind, you may qualify for a “freeze.”
The SSA can exclude those low earning years when they calculate your Social Security retirement or disability benefit. Social Security benefits are based on your average lifetime earnings. Therefore, your benefit will be higher if the SSA doesn’t count the years you were not working. The SSA calls this rule a “disability freeze.” You need to contact the SSA if you want to file for this “freeze.”
CANNON DISABILITY LAW WINS SSD BENEFITS FOR THE BLIND
If you cannot work due to a visual impairment or blindness, apply for disability benefits. After that, get an eye examination in order to prove that you qualify for benefits. When you submit medical records to the SSA, include all of your vision tests. It is possible for you to have visual testing that proves disability in the past.
At Cannon Disability, we have experience handling cases for those with visual disabilities. For instance, in one case, the SSA refused to let the claimant apply for benefits, even though he stated he was blind. The SSA claimed he was not insured for benefits, so they did not let him file his application for SSD.
However, due to the SSA’s special rules for the blind, he was in fact, insured. Because he had specific visual testing that was done prior to his attempt to file his application for benefits, he was able to show he met SSA’s disability criteria and he was entitled to benefits when he tried to first apply. Therefore, he was able to win all of his back-due disability benefits. The lesson is that medical records, even old records, can win your disability case.
If you have a visual impairment that prevents you from working, contact Cannon Disability Law. We are happy to help you file for benefits online. Also, we will help you appeal your benefit denials. We can help you apply for and win disability benefits in Utah or Nevada. We also practice disability law in Idaho and California. You can trust our experience.