The Social Security Administration of North Carolina considers individuals to be blind if their vision cannot be improved to 20/200 in the strong eye, or if their visual field is less than 20 degrees, even with corrective lenses. For blind people making disability claims, the rules are different from those pertaining to other disabilities.
For instance, if you are a blind person between the ages of 55 and 65, the rules of eligibility are more lenient. You only have to prove that you cannot do the same (or similar) work that you did before the age of 55 or before you became blind – whichever is later.
For all disability claims, the rules usually state that an individual must be unable to perform any reasonable type of work. For blind workers, there are also rules. If you get benefits while you are working, you will typically have a higher monthly earnings limit than the amount for workers who are not blind.
Furthermore, certain work expenses like a guide dog are taken into account when calculating the earnings limit. Contact your local Social Security Office to find out more about disability claims for the blind. Contact details for all NC offices can be found here.
The SS Administration and your doctor will probably agree on the legal definition of blindness. If you meet the criteria, you should be able to receive benefits on your own. However, there are many eye conditions that don’t meet these criteria but are nevertheless disabling. In such cases, it would be wise to seek assistance from an attorney.
(Articles on this blog are provided for informational purposes only. Use of this blog does not provide or replace individualized legal advice. If you are in need of legal advice, please speak with one of our attorneys, who can offer legal advice specific to your circumstances.)