Blind Oklahomans or those who have low vision might not know that there are certain special rules that might let them receive benefits while they are unable to work. There are two programs under Social Security disability that allow those with vision issues to get benefits. They are the Supplemental Security Income program and the Social Security Disability Insurance program. The medical requirements for each are the same.
A person will be classified as blind if his or her vision cannot be corrected to be superior to 20/200 in the better eye or if the visual field is 20 degrees or less in the better eye and this lasts for one year or is expected to last for one year. A person who does not meet the requirements to be classified as blind can still get SSD benefits if the vision issues by themselves or in combination with other health issues stop the person from being able to work. With SSDI, the person must have worked for a long enough period where Social Security taxes were paid. When seeking SSI benefits, the person does not have to have worked, but the income and resources must be lower than certain levels.
For those who worked and accrued credits, SSD benefits can be provided for a person who is blind. Those who do not have enough credits at the time they become blind can also accrue credits for work they did after they became blind. Those who do not have sufficient credits based on earnings might be able to receive benefits based on a spouse or parent. Those who are still working while blind can also freeze their disability so they can get higher benefits later.
People who are blind but want to try and work can get work incentives. They can keep getting benefits if their income is below a certain level. In 2017, it is capped at $1,950 per month. For a blind person who is self-employed, there will not be an evaluation of the time spent working as there is for those who are not blind. It does not matter how much work the person does as long as the earnings come to less than the capped amount.
People who are blind or have vision issues can get Social Security disability benefits through these two programs. Knowing the rules and having assistance is vital to receiving an approval whether it is for SSDI or SSI. Discussing the case with and attorney experienced in SSDI and SSI Supplemental Security Income can help.
Source: ssa.gov, “If You’re Blind Or Have Low Vision — How We Can Help,” accessed on June 19, 2017