If you or someone you love in New York suffers from blindness and as a result are unable to work, you may be able to receive Social Security disability benefits. There are two programs offered by the Social Security Administration for which you might qualify.
Help for legally blind New York workers
For some workers, being considered “legally blind” can be a problem for finding or keeping work. This is especially true if your condition has been worsening over the years and you are just now finding yourself unable to work because you are now legally blind.
You may be relieved to know that if you are legally blind and cannot work, then you may qualify for either Social Security disability benefits or Supplemental Security Income (SSI). In order to qualify, you must be legally blind, which means that your vision cannot be corrected to better than 20/200 in your best eye. You can also be considered legally blind if your visual field is 20 degrees or less in your best eye.
The medical criteria SSA uses to decide if you are legally blind is the same whether you apply for Social Security Disability or Supplemental Security Income (SSI), however the rules vary for other forms of vision problems.
Help for other types of vision difficulties
If you are not legally blind but suffer from another type of vision problem, you may still be eligible for disability benefits. Disability benefits are available if your vision problems – either on their own or in combination with another condition or illness – prevent you from working. The rules are a little different based on which program you apply to:
- To qualify for Social Security disability benefits, you must have paid Social Security taxes through your work for long enough.
- To qualify for Supplemental Security Income, you are not required to have paid Social Security taxes, but you do have to have an income or other resources that are under a certain dollar amount.
Note, if you are blind or have other serious vision problems but do not have enough work credit to qualify for Social Security disability, you may be able to get benefits based on the earnings of your spouse or parents.
We can help you with your Social Security Disability or SSI claim or appeal
The rules around blindness and disability benefits can be confusing for some New York workers. Fortunately, there is help available. Our skilled, compassionate attorneys know the ins and outs of the various disability benefit programs for vision impaired workers. We can help you prepare your initial application and we can also help with appeals.