Social Security Disability Due to Blindness

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A blind woman is playing with her dog.
A blind woman is playing with her dog. (Image: Ottó Kálmán/iStock/Getty Images)

Social Security Disability Insurance provides disability benefits to blind people who are unable to work. If you need further assistance, you might also qualify for Supplemental Security Income. SSDI benefits require a minimum amount of work credits, while SSI is based solely on financial need. Once you qualify for SSDI, you will receive benefits until you are able to find another source of work or you reach retirement age and your regular Social Security benefits begin.

Definition of Blindness

You may have some vision and still qualify for SSDI. The ability to read large print or get around without a cane or dog does not disqualify you from receiving benefits. The official SSDI definition of blindness is 20/200 or worse vision in your better eye even when wearing corrective lenses or a visual field of 20 degrees or less. You must provide documentation of your vision impairment from a licensed physician. Even if you cannot meet the blindness criteria, you might be able to get regular disability benefits if your vision problems render you unable to work.

Rule Modifications for Blind Individuals

The Social Security Administration has relaxed disability rules for blind people due to the extreme hardship that particular disability causes. For example, the monthly earnings limit for 2015 increased to $1,820 from $1,090 for the blind. If you are unable to work for two years due to blindness, you can receive SSDI benefits without having the required number of work credits to qualify. You may exclude work-related expenses from income toward the limit, such as transportation to and from work or service animal costs. Time spent on a self-employed business also does not count toward your monthly income limit.

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