Are there special rules for disability based on blindness?
Social Security considers a person to be blind if your vision cannot be corrected to better than 20/200 in your strong eye, or if you have a visual field of 20 degrees or less, even with corrective lenses. Many rules regarding disability benefits are different for the blind. For example, when a blind person is between the ages of 55 and 65, a more lenient rule is used to determine their eligibility. The person must only show that they cannot do the same or similar work they did before age 55, or before they became blind, whichever is later. The usual rule says that a person must be unable to do any reasonable type of work. There are also special rules for blind workers. If you receive Social Security benefits while working, you will generally have a higher earnings limit than the $500 per month allowed for non-blind disabled workers. Check with Social Security for current figures. Also, certain work expenses like a seeing-eye dog can be deducted, when calculating your earnings limit. You need to work less to qualify if you are blind. To find out more about rules for the blind, contact the Social Security office; ask for their publication titled, “If You Are Blind – How We Can Help.”
On the one hand, your doctor and the Administration will probably agree on the definition of “legal blindness,” and if you meet that definition, you will probably get benefits on your own. On the other hand, there are a lot of eye conditions that do not meet this test but are nevertheless disabling. For those impairments, an attorney might be needed6