Kentucky Law Blog

Mark’s Notes on Legal Topics of Interest

Can I receive Social Security benefits for vision disability?

Vision problems are a major impediment to enjoying many aspects of life, including the ability to work and provide for yourself and your family. This is why the federal government lists vision impairment as a disability that can qualify for Social Security Disability. The Social Security Administration (SSA) lists some criteria that the agency uses to judge whether a Kentucky applicant qualifies for benefits.

One of these criteria is whether a person qualifying for benefits is blind. The SSA defines blindness in two ways. There must be no way to correct the eyesight of the better eye of the applicant any better than 20/200, or alternatively, applicants cannot possess a visual field any greater than 20 degrees in their better eye. Such a loss of vision must persist or be expected to persist for at least a twelve month period.

Some people, though they possess problems with their vision, might not meet the criteria for blindness, but this does not mean they have no recourse to qualify for disability. You can still be granted benefits if your visual impairment keeps you from working. Sometimes visual problems alone can make working difficult or impossible, or a vision disability may combine with other health problems to keep a person from maintaining a regular work schedule.

In the event some people are still working but earning less because of their blindness and cannot secure disability at the current time, the SSA makes a special provision. This provision, known as a disability freeze, allows people to ask Social Security to exclude their lower-earning years from calculating disability benefits or Social Security retirement. Social Security benefits are based on average lifetime earnings, so omitting low earning years will make the resulting benefits higher.
This information is only intended for educational purposes and should not be interpreted as legal advice.

On behalf of Mark Knight Attorney at Law