January is National Eye Care Month. This month celebrates our eyes and caring for them. Even if you are cautious of your eye health, you may still end up developing an eye condition that qualifies for disability benefits.
There are several eye conditions that, if severe enough, may qualify for disability benefits, which include vision loss, partial sight, cataracts, Sjögren’s Syndrome, hemianopia, glaucoma, ocular melanoma and mascular degeneration.
What Eye Problems Are Considered For Disability?
The eligible eye conditions can be found in the Blue Book in section 2.00: Special Senses and Speech that outlines how different eye conditions could qualify for disability benefits. If your eye problems mean you have abnormalities of the eye, the optic nerve, the optic tracts, or the brain that has caused a loss of visual acuity which means you will have lost the ability to distinguish detail, read, or do fine work.
What Other Requirements Are There For an Eye Problem to Qualify For SSD?
If you believe the extent of your visual loss would qualify for you for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits (SSDI) you still need sufficient work credits. If you have worked and paid taxes you should accumulate 4 work credits for every year worked.
In 2023, you can earn a work credit for every $1,640 in wages or self-employment income. When you've earned $6,560 you've earned your four credits for the year.
How many you need to qualify for SSDI will depend on your age. For example, generally, you need 40 credits, 20 of which were earned in the last 10 years ending with the year your disability begins. If you haven’t yet reached age 24 you could qualify if you have 6 credits earned in the 3-year period ending when your disability begins.
You will also need to make less than the Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA), which is $2,460 for blind workers and $1,470 for non-blind workers. If you are able to work and can make more than this amount in a month then you will not qualify.
How to Apply for SSD With Eye Problems
There are several ways you could apply for SSDI through the SSA which are either online, over the phone or in person at an SSA office. You will need to bring all the required paperwork and medical evidence. There is usually someone available to help you apply if needed.
There is some information which you may be asked to provide with your application such as:
- your Social Security number;
- proof of your age;
- names, addresses, and phone numbers of doctors, caseworkers, hospitals, and clinics that have been responsible for treating your medical condition and the dates of your visits;
- names and dosages of all the medications you are taking;
- medical records from your doctors, therapists, hospitals, clinics, and caseworkers;
- lab and test results;
- a list of jobs and the type of work you did;
- your most recent W-2 form or a copy of your federal tax return if you were self employed.
Get Help With Your SSDI Claim
It is important to provide appropriate medical evidence proving your eye problem prevents you from working. If you seek help from an attorney he or she may be able to help you get the SSDI you deserve.
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