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What is the Requirement to Get Disability for Vision?

Most people do not want to think about the disability. However, the probability that you had become incapacitate is bigger than you think.

Statistics show that 1 of 4 of the workers in their 20s are at risk of becoming disabled before reaching age of retirement.

If you are blind, the Social Security Administration of the United States of America has special rules that allow you to receive benefits when you cannot work.

What is the Requirement to Get Disability for Vision?

They pay benefits to visually impaired individuals under two separate programs which are the SSD Insurance Program and Supplemental Security Income Program. The medical regulations that they use to decide if a person is blind are the same for each program.

Other rules are different. It´s explained below the different rules for each program:

What is the Requirement to Get Disability for Vision?

You may be entitled to Social Security or SSI benefits if you are considered blind. They may consider you blind if the sight in your best eye cannot be corrected to more than 20/200 or if your visual field in your best eye is less than 20 degrees during a period that has lasted or is expected to last at least 12 months.

You Can Receive Disability Benefits Even If You Are Not Blind:

Even if your vision does not meet the requirements of blindness, you may still be entitled to receive disability benefits, if your visual problem alone or combined with other health problems prevents you from working. To qualify for SSD benefits, you need to be gainfully employed for a period of time where you have gained enough credit points for you to get SSD benefits. For SSI payments in cases of the individual being legally blind it is not mandatory for you to have been gainfully employed for any significant time but the income and available resources must be good enough for you to qualify for SSD benefits for blindness.

It is better to hire a disability lawyer to successfully claim disability for vision.

How do You Qualify For Social Security Disability Benefits?

When you work and pay Social Security taxes, you earn Social Security credit points that accumulate over time for future benefits.

If you are legally blind, credits can be earned at any time through the entire tenure of the job. You can use those credits accumulated after you are termed as legally blind so as to qualify for benefits in case if there are not enough credits at time of vision impairment.

Also, if you do not have enough credits to receive Social Security benefits for disability based on your own earnings, you may be entitled to receive benefits through the earnings of one of your parents or your spouse.

Fixed Period Of Disability:

  • There is a special rule that in the future could help you receive a greater amount of retirement or disability benefits.
  • You can use this rule if you are blind and are not currently receiving disability benefits because you are working.
  • If your earnings are lower due to your blindness, they can exclude those years by calculating your Social Security benefits for retirement or disability in the future.
  • Because Social Security benefits are based on your average lifetime earnings, your benefit will be greater if you do not count those years. They call this rule “a fixed period of disability.”

You Can Receive SSI Disability Payments:

The payments for individuals through SSI depend on the overall need of the individual. The overall income of the available resources must be less than the limit designed by SSI in order to get SSI benefits. The limits set by SSI are variable and differ from one state to another. It is mandatory for the individual to not have worked under SSI in order to get SSI benefits.

You Can Work While Receiving The Benefits:

Several rules called work incentives facilitate people who receive disability benefits to work.

People who receive Social Security disability benefits can continue to receive their benefits while they work, as long as their earnings are not greater than the amounts established by law.

But, the social Security does not approve benefits for people with partial or short-term disabilities, contrary to other disability benefit programs.


  1. Social Security Administration – Disability Benefits: https://www.ssa.gov/benefits/disability/
  2. Social Security Administration – Blindness and Social Security Disability: https://www.ssa.gov/OP_Home/handbook/handbook.02/handbook-0201.html
  3. Social Security Administration – Understanding Supplemental Security Income SSI Eligibility Requirements – Blindness: https://www.ssa.gov/ssi/text-blind-ussi.htm
  4. Social Security Administration – Work Incentives: https://www.ssa.gov/benefits/disability/work.html
  5. National Federation of the Blind – Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income: https://www.nfb.org/resources/social-security-disability-insurance-and-supplemental-security-income

Also Read:

Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:August 28, 2023

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