Vision impairments and Social Security Disability benefits

Social Security Disability
By Goodwin Como, P.C.

Visual impairments can arise from ocular injuries, diabetes, cataracts and numerous other conditions — and any kind of visual impairment has the potential of being destructive to your livelihood. That often makes it necessary to turn to Social Security for disability benefits.

If you’re suffering from vision loss, here’s what you should know:

What’s Social Security’s definition of legal blindness?

Regardless of the reason for your vision loss, Social Security has a very specific definition of what it means to be legally blind:

  • You have a visual field of 20 degrees or less in your better eye, or
  • You have 20/200 or less visual acuity in your better eye

Because of this restrictive definition, many people who have serious visual impairments that prevent them from working still don’t meet the government’s definition of “legally blind.

Can you still qualify for Social Security Disability without being legally blind?

Yes. A problem with your vision can become disabling long before you reach the point of being legally blind. Plus, the odds are high that you have other, comorbid conditions that are related to your blindness. The limitations you experience from all of your medical and mental conditions have to be evaluated as a whole — along with your work history, education level, age and residual functional capacity to manage your daily activities — before Social Security can deny your claim.

When you’re struggling with significant health issues and the loss of your vision, you don’t need the hassle of trying to get your Social Security Disability claim approved. Find out how an attorney can help.