Social Security Disability For Partial Or Total Blindness
Whether you are totally, legally, or partially blind, you may be eligible for the Social Security Administrations Disability benefits for the blind. In order to qualify, the SSA requires that your vision loss be quite significant and be present in both eyes.;Those blind in one eye are not eligible.;
If you dont meet the SSAs requirements for loss of peripheral vision or loss of central visual acuity, you may still be able to get blindness disability benefits due to a medical-vocational allowance. However, youll have to show that your loss of vision prevents you from working any job available to people with your education, age, and prior job experience.;
What Is A Disability Under The Ada
The ADA defines a disability, with respect to an individual, as meaning that the individual:
Has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities of such individual;
Has a record of such an impairment; or
Has been subjected to an action prohibited by the ADA based upon being regarded as having such an impairment — that is, when an employer takes action prohibited by the ADA because of an actual or perceived impairment that is not both transitory and minor — whether or not the person is in fact impaired.
The definition of a major life activity is broad, encompassing such activities as being able to care for oneself, to perform manual tasks, or to see, hear, eat, sleep, breathe, learn , read, concentrate, think, communicate or work. The determination of whether an impairment substantially limits a major life activity is made without regard to the actual or potential benefits of such measures as medication, medical equipment or appliances, prosthetics, hearing aids or implantable hearing devices, mobility devices.
How Do I Start A Vision Loss Disability Claim
If youre unsure whether you qualify for Supplemental Security Income or Social Security Disability Insurance , you may apply for both. In order to apply, you or your lawyer can call the SSA to schedule a time to go in and fill out an application or you can file for disability online. Take care when filling out your application to describe how your vision loss affects both your ability to work and how it affects your daily life such as reading or driving. If you have another medical condition that may be considered a disability, be sure to list the symptoms for that ailment as well. While it can take several months to get a decision on a Disability application, there are exceptions for those who are totally or legally blind.;
Read Also: What Does Social Security Disability Pay
Computers And Mobile Technology
Access technology such as screen readers, screen magnifiers and refreshable braille displays enable the blind to use mainstream computer applications and mobile phones. The availability of assistive technology is increasing, accompanied by concerted efforts to ensure the accessibility of information technology to all potential users, including the blind. Later versions of Microsoft Windows include an Accessibility Wizard & Magnifier for those with partial vision, and Microsoft Narrator, a simple screen reader. Linux distributions for the blind include Vinux and Adriane Knoppix, the latter developed in part by Adriane Knopper who has a visual impairment. macOS and iOS also come with a built-in screen reader called VoiceOver, while is built in to most Android devices.
Modified visual output that includes large print and/or clear simple graphics can be of benefit to users with some residual vision.
Earned Income Tax Credit
Even if your income is low enough to put you in the “doesn’t have to file” category, you may want to consider your eligibility for the Earned Income Tax Credit, or EITC. Regardless of whether you had federal tax withheld or don’t owe any federal tax, you can get a hefty refund in the form of EITC if you qualify. How much you receive varies according to income, filing status and number of child dependents.
The Consolidated Appropriations Act was signed into law on December 27, 2020 as a stimulus measure to provide relief to those affected by the pandemic. For tax years 2020 and 2021, taxpayers can use their 2019 earned income if it was higher than their 2020 or 2021 earned income in calculating the Earned Income Tax Credit .
Don’t Miss: Is Asthma A Disability Under Ada
Tests For Legal Blindness
Your doctor will check your vision during a standard eye exam.
They will measure your eyesight while youâre wearing glasses or contact lenses. Your vision might fall below 20/200 without them. If it improves when you put on your glasses or contacts, youâre not considered legally blind. Learn more: Can LASIK help cure legal blindness?
Understanding Disability Benefits For The Blind
- Blind individuals encounter certain daily difficulties that most of us cannot imagine. Without the ability to properly see, blind people may struggle with very basic activities. Fortunately, there is hope. The Social Security Administration provides a number of accommodations for persons who are blind. An applicant who is blind may be eligible for certain assistance from the SSA.
- When applying for benefits, blind applicants must be careful. Although some applicants may have problems seeing, not all such problems are considered blindness. The SSA has specific criteria for defining blindness.
- There are special rules for people who are blind or have low vision.
Also Check: Is Breast Cancer Considered A Disability
How Pip Affects You If You Receive Dla
Any people who were receiving DLA and were aged over 16 and under 65 on 8 April 2013 are being invited to claim PIP.;If you are in the relevant age group and have not yet had an invitation to claim PIP, you will eventually get a letter from DWP/DfC which will explain what you need to do to begin your claim.
When you are invited to make a claim for PIP, it is vital that you contact the DWP/DfC to;start your claim within four weeks. If you do not start your claim within four weeks, the DWP/DfC will suspend your DLA. You can still make a claim for PIP after this, and if you do it within a further four weeks your DLA will be reinstated whilst you are making your claim for PIP.
Our Personal Independence Payment Toolkit
The idea of filling out a claim form can be a little daunting, so to help you complete your form we have created a handy PIP Toolkit. Our Toolkit identifies the questions on the PIP application form that are most relevant for many blind and partially sighted people and contains our top tips to help you complete the form effectively.
Recommended Reading: How To Appeal A Va Disability Claim
What Is Supplemental Security Income
Supplemental Security Income is a disability benefits program administered by the Social Security Administration . This program offers financial assistance to disabled individuals of all ages who earn limited income. Children are generally good candidates for SSI benefits because there are no age or work requirements.
Because SSI only services low income individuals, applicants must submit records of their financesincluding any income, owned resources, etc.for evaluation. If your income exceeds the limits established by the SSA, your child will not receive SSI benefits.
Learn more about SSI eligibility for children.
Against Private Employers And State/local Governments
Any person who believes that his or her employment rights have been violated on the basis of disability and wants to make a claim against an employer must file a charge of discrimination with the EEOC. A third party may also file a charge on behalf of another person who believes he or she experienced discrimination. For example, a family member, social worker, or other representative can file a charge on behalf of someone with a vision impairment. The charge must be filed by mail or in person with the local EEOC office within 180 days from the date of the alleged violation. The 180-day filing deadline is extended to 300 days if a state or local anti-discrimination agency has the authority to grant or seek relief as to the challenged unlawful employment practice.
The EEOC will send the parties a copy of the charge and may ask for responses and supporting information. Before formal investigation, the EEOC may select the charge for EEOC’s mediation program. Both parties have to agree to mediation, which may prevent a time consuming investigation of the charge. Participation in mediation is free, voluntary, and confidential.
You May Like: Can You Get Disability For Sciatica Pain
Supplemental Security Income And Visual Impairment
If your child is legally blind, you may be eligible to receive Supplemental Security Income benefits on his or her behalf. These benefits can be used to cover daily expenses such as food, clothing, shelter, and medical care.
This article will provide you with a general explanation of the SSI program and will prepare you to submit an application on behalf of a child who is blind or visually impaired.
Social Security Disability And Vision Impairment
Social Security will usually recognize vision impairment as a disability based on one of the following issues:
A few special rules apply in Social Security disability cases involving visual impairments. Those who are statutorily blind will have a higher level of income that is considered to be substantial gainful activity . This may allow them to continue to work while still qualifying for Social Security disability benefits. In addition, a “disability freeze” will apply if a person had previously been able to work, but the income they were able to earn has decreased due to visual impairments. In these cases, SSDI benefits will be calculated based on the income earned before the person experienced reduced income due to blindness.
Recommended Reading: What Is The National Disability Scheme
What Is Considered Legally Blind In One Eye
If youre legally blind , your vision is 20/200 or less in one eye . That means if an object is 200 feet away, you have to stand 20 feet from it in order to see it clearly. But a person with normal vision can stand 200 feet away and see that object perfectly. An estimated 1.1 million Americans are legally blind .
Medically Qualifying With Vision Loss
The SSA uses its own medical guide, known colloquially as the Blue Book, to determine if an applicant is eligible for Social Security disability benefits. There are a few listings for vision loss in the Blue Book.
The most straightforward way to qualify for disability is to prove that your vision is legally blind, or 20/200 or worse. This will automatically qualify for disability benefits.
If youre not legally blind, there are still other ways to qualify, but youll need to take some standard tests first. The SSA will also approve people who experience contraction of the visual fields or loss of visual efficiency. Because the entire Blue Book is available online, you can review the listings with your doctor to see which exams you may need to take to qualify for benefits. The Blue Book outlines exactly what medical criteria are needed for approval, but it is best interpreted by an optometrist or another vision expert.
Recommended Reading: Is Short Term Disability The Same As Fmla
Functional Assessment For Visual Impairment
The functional limitations of your vision are important to request accommodations from your employer, even if you do not meet the stringent requirements of having a severe visual impairment to qualify for long term disability benefits. Anyone who has the following conditions may be able to request accommodations from their employer.
- Inability to process written material for any reason
- Partially sighted individuals
- Those with eye conditions, such as cataracts, Macular Degeneration, or glaucoma
- Loss of both sight and hearing
- Colour blindness or similar disability
- Only having vision in one eye
You should be able to work with your employer to help you create an environment in which you can work with an accommodation or adjustment in your work tasks or activities.
If you think you or a loved one may qualify for long term disability for blindness or you would like help requesting an accommodation from your employer, contact the team at Diamond & Diamond to learn how we can help.
- legally blind canada benefits
- blind in one eye disability
- legally blind ontario
Applying For Social Security Disability Benefits
You can apply for Social Security Disability benefits online at the SSA website or in person at your local Social Security office. When applying in person, make sure you bring copies of all your medical records related to your disability.
These records should include a history of your diagnoses, a history of your hospitalizations, the findings of physical and mental exams and a personal statement from your treating physicians about the limitations caused by your condition.
You will also need to bring your employment history and financial records.
When applying online, you may be able to submit your medical documentation electronically.
You will receive a decision regarding your disability claim within three to six months of the date of your application. If you are approved for benefits, your notice of award will provide information about receiving your first disability payment.
Recommended Reading: Does Gender Dysphoria Qualify For Disability
What Is Considered Legally Blind In Canada
Being legally blind does not mean that you are completely blind. Those who are legally blind often can see some things, but their eyesight could be very narrow or extremely blurry.
In Canada, someone is considered blind under the law if their best eye has less than 20/200 vision, even with the help of contact lens or glasses. To put that in perspective, it means that the person cannot see more than six meters in front of them. Normal vision allows you to see about 60 meters away.
You can also be considered legally blind if your vision field is less than 20 degrees with the help of glasses or contacts. That means that you have trouble seeing on the sides .
Because being legally blind is measured by your best eye, that means that you likely are not considered disabled if you are only blind in one eye.
The New National Disability Strategy Is Out Today Promising To Improve The Lives Of Disabled People As Part Of The Governments Levelling Up Agenda
The process of the development of the strategy has been controversial, with concerns raised in particular about the level and type of consultation with disabled people that went into its development.;
In his foreward to the Strategy, the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, says:;
If there is one thing more than any other that drives this government, its our determination to level up the country so that whoever and wherever you are, the spark of your talent and potential can be connected with the kindling of opportunity;As we emerge from the long shadow of Coronavirus, I want to build back better and fairer, for all our disabled people and this strategy is the down payment on making that happen.;
While its good to see the Government state an ambition for transformational change for disabled people, the strategy released today feels like just the beginning, and well need much more information not least on funding – before we can be confident it will deliver this promised change.;;
The first part of the strategy does not feel strategic, reading as a one-year plan, with policies led by individual departments. There are some positive ideas in there which could improve things for blind and partially sighted people, like:;
- Accelerating the roll out of tactile paving at railway stations;
- Improvements to access to work, including the creation of a passport so you can move your adjustments from one employer to another;
- And pledges to fix the accessibility of government communications;
Disability Tax Credit Eligibility For Blind Canadians
Blindness denotes the condition of a total loss of vision with the inability to distinguish light from darkness in both eyes. In other words, blindness is the state of being unable to see. This is contrasted against vision impairment wherein ones vision is less than perfect but can be correctable or improved through the use of glasses, contact lenses, medicine or surgical intervention. Currently, almost one million Canadians suffer from blindness for which there is no cure. In response, the Canadian Disability Tax Credit for Blindness available for those with this condition.
Getting Disability Benefits For Vision Impairment
Being visually impaired means that you have less than 20/20 vision. In fact, many people have some form of visual impairment, even if it is slight. However, only those are actually or legally blind in Canada will be able to get benefits for their impairment in most circumstances.
Long term disability benefits are available for vision impairment, but what an insurance company considers a disability when it comes to vision will vary. If your blindness inhibits your ability to work, then you may qualify to get monthly benefit amounts from your insurance company.
You must be able to document that you have a severe vision impairment. Usually, this is done by taking a vision loss test. Your doctor will be able to give you this type of exam to determine your best possible corrected vision.
Recommended Reading: How Long Is Short Term Disability Insurance
Special Rules For Blind Applicants
The SSA has several rules that apply to legally or totally blind applicants but don’t apply to nonblind disabled applicants. For instance:
- In some states, legally blind applicants receive a higher state supplement to their SSI payment than nonblind disabled people.
- SSDI claimants who are legally blind can work and receive up to $2,190 per month and still receive disability benefits without the work being considered substantial gainful activity by the SSA . Also, the SGA limit of $2,190 doesn’t apply to SSI claimants .
- The SSA grants immediate SSI benefits to those with severe disabilities who are likely to be found eligible for benefits. If you suffer from total blindness , you may qualify for six months of “presumptive blindness” benefits while you are waiting for your decision.
- If your income declined as your vision deteriorated, you can exclude the more recent quarters of earnings from your Social Security record. In essense, your earnings record will be “frozen” before your disability began, which is why this is called a “disability freeze.”