How to Qualify for Social Security Disability Benefits with Vision Loss


Losing your vision can make it difficult to do the things that you used to do, including work. If you have suffered from vision loss and you can’t work you can file a claim for Social Security disability benefits. Social Security disability benefits provide money that people who can’t work can use for living expenses like housing and utility bills or adaptive equipment and medical costs that aren’t covered by insurance. If you expect that you will be unable to work for at least a year because of your vision loss you can file a claim for Social Security disability benefits.

Medically Qualifying for Social Security Disability Benefits with Vision Loss

Everyone that applies for disability benefits must prove that their medical condition keeps them from being able to work. All of the medical conditions that qualify for disability benefits are listed in the Social Security Administration’s Blue Book. Each Blue Book listing contains a list of criteria that someone must meet in order to be awarded disability benefits for that condition. According to the Blue Book listing in order to medically qualify for benefits with vision loss your vision loss must meet one of these criteria:

  • Loss of central visual acuity (2.02) – your must have vision loss in your central field of vision and you must see no better than 20/200 in your better eye.
  • Contraction of the visual field in the better eye (2.03) – If your field of vision is shrinking then you can qualify under this listing. In order to prove that you meet this listing your doctor will have measure your vision with specific tests. Your visual field diameter must be no greater than 30 degrees in order to meet this listing.
  • Loss of visual efficiency, or visual impairment (2.04) – this listing covers people whose vision loss causes blurry vision, unfocused vision, or actual blindness. To qualify, you must have vision in your better eye that is no greater than 20/200 when wearing corrective lenses.

You will need to have a doctor’s diagnosis as well as medical documentation to prove that you meet the Blue Book criteria for vision loss in order for your disability claim to be approved. But, if you can’t meet these listings and still can’t work because of vision loss there is another way that you can get approved for benefits. You can apply for a Medical Vocational Allowance.

Medical Vocational Allowance

A Medical Vocational Allowance is a way for people who don’t meet any of the Blue Book listing but still can’t work to get benefits. You can ask for the SSA to perform a Residual Functional Capacity evaluation. This is designed to see if there is any type of full-time work that you can do with your current medical condition. If there is no work that you can do your claim for benefits can be approved even if you don’t meet any Blue Book criteria.

Applying for Disability Benefits

If you have vision problems you can have a friend or family member fill out a claim for you. Or you can make an appointment at your local SSA office and file your claim in person. An SSA staff member will help you fill out and file your claim for disability benefits.


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