In the United States, different holidays in June raise awareness for eye health and blindness. For instance, there is Cataracts Awareness Month in June, International Nystagmus Day on June 20, and Deafblind Awareness Week on the week of June 26.
According to the CDC, blindness and visual impairment are serious public health concerns in the United States, impacting millions of people each year.
About 12 million Americans who are 40 years old or older are either legally blind or visually impaired.
It is important to understand how blindness affects Americans daily, especially with these relevant upcoming days in mind.
What Constitutes Blindness and Who Qualifies for Benefits
Eye health is a significant aspect of overall health, and it's essential to be aware of the various resources available to help you with your daily life. In addition, those who have developed any of these conditions may be eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits.
Now the question that remains is: What does the Social Security Administration (SSA) constitute as blindness?
The SSA defines visual impairment as "an eye condition that prevents an individual from seeing at 20 feet what someone with normal vision can see at 20 feet." To be eligible for SSDI benefits, an individual must have a visual impairment that is expected to last for at least 12 months or result in death.
To qualify for disability benefits with a visual impairment, you must meet one of the following criteria:
- You must have a loss in your central field of vision and see no better than 20/200 in your
- better eye; or
- Have a shrinking field of vision in your better eye; or,
- Have blurry vision, unfocused vision, or total blindness, along with vision in your better eye that is no better than 20/200 with corrective lenses.
What If You Can Return to Work?
The SSA will also consider how the visual impairment interferes with the individual's ability to work. For example, an individual who is blind in one eye but has normal vision in the other may still be able to work and would not be eligible for SSDI benefits.
However, if you are receiving disability benefits due to a visual impairment, you may want to try to return to work. Every five years, disabled workers are granted a trial work period of nine months. This allows you (and the SSA) to determine whether your condition has improved sufficiently to return to work full-time (these nine months do not have to be consecutive).
Your disability benefits are not in jeopardy during this trial period; however, report your work activity, earnings, and expenses to the SSA.
How Do I Apply for SSDI Benefits If I Am Blind?
Eligibility for SSDI benefits depends on various factors, so it is important to speak with an experienced disability lawyer to find out more.
The disability benefits process can be complicated, so it's crucial to have an experienced team by your side. Our Virginia SSDI lawyers specialize in helping people with visual impairments and other disabilities fight for the money they deserve.
We offer free consultations, so call us today at 703-241 2625 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.