Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is a benefit offered to qualifying individuals who cannot work because of a disability. For people with serious vision conditions or blindness, the rules are slightly different. One reason is that these rules can help blind workers continue working. In this article, we will look at how SSDI treats vision conditions differently than other conditions. If you feel you might qualify as a vision-impaired person, make sure you contact us with your questions and concerns.
The Social Security Administration (Social Security) defines disability as:
“The law defines disability as the inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity (SGA) by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment(s) which can be expected to result in death or which has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months.”
If you have a condition that meets this definition, you also must have enough work credits to qualify for benefits.
Defining Vision Conditions
Social Security’s List of Impairments includes vision problems in Section 2.00 Special Senses and Speech. The following two specific conditions appear at the top of the section:
- Visual Disorders. This means “abnormalities of the eye, the optic nerve, the optic tracts, or the brain that may cause a loss of visual acuity or visual fields.” With this type of condition, you might have trouble reading or doing any type of work with fine details.
- Statutory Blindness. As defined by the Social Security Act, blindness is “central vision acuity of 20/200 or less in the better eye with the use of a correcting lens.”
Social Security will need medical proof of any kind of vision conditions before awarding benefits.
Special Rules and Workers with Vision Conditions
As Social Security processes your application, they look at whether you are able to engage in substantial gainful employment (SGA). If you can earn more than the monthly limit of SGA, you may not qualify for disability benefits. In addition, SSDI recipients sometimes work part-time, especially if they are trying to return to work. The situation is slightly better for blind workers.
As someone who is blind or who has qualifying vision conditions, you can earn as much as $2,110 every month. This is the 2020 earnings limit. Non-blind workers can only earn up to $1,260 per month to keep their benefits. Both of these limits change, usually every year.
Blind workers may also take advantage of something called a ‘disability freeze.’ You can request this benefit if you are still working, but your earnings are less because of your visual condition.
Of course, SSDI rules and regulations are difficult for the rest of us to understand. To get the answers you need, call a California SSDI lawyer.
SSDI Treats Vision Conditions Differently. How Does This Affect You?
Maybe you are blind or have very low vision. But you want to work. SSDI might allow you to support yourself for as long as possible while having the safety net of SSDI benefits.
The attorneys at The Law Offices of Martin Taller have the experience and ability to take on your case. For a free consultation, call us at 714-385-8100. We assist clients throughout Southern California from our home office in Anaheim.