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How is blindness defined for SSI benefits?

The ability to see without corrective lenses is a blessing for Oklahoma residents who can live their lives with clear vision. However, many men, women and children struggle with limited or low vision and need contacts, glasses and even surgeries to improve the way that they view the world. Others who have significant impairments to their visual fields may not ever be able to gain full vision with corrective and surgical methods.

Because blindness and limited vision can significantly impact the way that individuals live their lives and the jobs that they can do, the Social Security Administration recognizes those impairments as disabilities for the purposes of receiving Supplemental Security Income. Blindness, for this purpose, is defined as central visual acuity of 20/200 or less in the person's better eye with a correction, or a limited visual field in the person's better eye of 20 degrees or less.

To compare, a person with 20/20 vision is considered to have normal visual acuity. A person with 20/200 vision would have to stand 20 feet away from something to see it as well as a person with 20/20 vision could see it at 200 feet away. Therefore, blindness does not mean the complete lack of sight in a person, but a significant limitation on their ability to see.

Case-relevant information about how blindness may support a person's claim for SSI may benefit Oklahoma residents who have questions about these benefits. Getting the right information is crucial to submitting a strong initial application for benefits.

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The Law Center for Social
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