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Obtaining SSDI benefits for blindness


Anyone in Georgia who has lost his or her sight has suffered one of humanity's worst afflictions. Losing the ability to see can have a devastating impact on all aspects of a person's life. For that reason, among others, the Social Security Administration has made the award of Social Security Disability Benefits almost automatic for persons who satisfy the agency's definition of blindness.

The loss of vision can be caused by an illness or accident or result from genetic causes. The loss of vision does not have to be complete to qualify for SSDI benefits. The SSA defines blindness as either (a) a central visual acuity of 20/200 or less in the better eye with the best correction or (b) a limitation of the field of vision in the better eye that subtends an angle of no greater than 20 degrees. As with other SSD disabilities, the limitation of vision must have lasted or be expected to last at least 12 months.

The loss of vision must render the claimant incapable of engaging in substantial gainful activity. In 2016, SGA was defined as earning more than $1,820 per month. (The SGA limit for other types of disabilities in 2016 was $1,130 per month. Both amounts are expected to increase in 2017. A person may lose SSD benefits if he or she earns more than that amount after returning to work.

While blindness is relatively easy to demonstrate, and while its effect on a person's ability to work is usually inarguable, the assistance of an attorney who is experienced in handling SSDI claims can be beneficial. A knowledgeable lawyer can assist in assembling the medical and vocational information and can provide assistance if an appeal is necessary.

Source: Social Security Administration, "The Red Book - Special Rules for Persons Who Are Blind," accessed on March 15, 2017

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