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Can I Get Disability Benefits For Poor Eyesight?

Many people think of disabilities as injuries or accidents that put them out of work and affect their ability to live their lives as they were before. However, the definition of a “disability” is diverse — and for people with blindness or poor vision, disability benefits may also be within reach.

The Social Security Administration can provide benefits to people who meet their medical definition of blindness or poor eyesight through two programs — Social Security Disability, or SSD, and Supplemental Security Income, or SSI. The first is available to anyone who has worked into the system by earning work credits over time, while the second is specifically for low-income individuals who may need additional assistance.

When it comes to receiving SSD for an eyesight disability, there are several factors to consider. Medically, the SSA has several specifications which you must meet in order to be eligible for benefits. For example, the SSA considers you legally blind if your vision is 20/200 or less in your better eye — and it can’t be corrected to be better. Another possibility is if your visual field is 20 degrees or less in your better eye, a situation also known as “tunnel vision,” for at least 12 months.

However, if you don’t meet this legal definition of blindness, it’s not the end of the road — you may still qualify for benefits if you can prove that your eyesight is poor enough that it interferes with your daily life and prevents you from working and earning a living. In this case, the SSA may consider you eligible for SSD, especially if your eyesight disability is combined with other health problems that are exacerbated by it.

Finally, in order to qualify for any kind of SSD benefits, you need to have earned a certain number of work credits by paying Social Security taxes for a number of years. This number will depend on your age, so the older are the longer you are expected to have worked in order to qualify for SSD.

If you think you may be eligible for SSD benefits because of your poor eyesight, you should talk to an attorney about how you can file your claim with the SSA as well as how to gather medical evidence to support it.