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  • Christopher Le

Filing for Social Security Disability due to Impaired Vision and Blindness

What is considered Statutory Blindness under SSA?

About 3.4 million Americans over age 40 are legally blind or suffer from low and decreased vision, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The good news is that Social Security Disability benefits may be available to those who meet the definition of statutory blindness. If you meet the criteria, you will receive social security disability benefits.

How do I meet the criteria of Statutory or Legal blindness under SSA regulations? The Social Security Administration (SSA) considers an individual legally or statutorily blind if the individual’s better eye has a corrected visual acuity of 20/200 or worse. A visual field diameter of 20 degrees or less in the better eye also constitutes legal blindness. This doesnt mean that individuals be totally blind – which is defined as no light perception – it jut means the applicant must be statutorily (partially) blind. In order to meet this criteria you must have one of the two elements below:

  • Corrected central visual acuity of less than or equal to 20/200 in the better eye, or;

  • Visual field limitation (peripheral vision) of less than or equal to 20 degrees.

How do I document statutory blindness? SSA requires hard medical evidence that you meet the criteria. A one sentence statement from your ophthalmologist stating that you are blind is insufficient. You must include with your claim eye examinations, including tests conducted and measurements taken, that shows that your vision meets or exceeds one of the listing criteria mentioned above.

The main piece of evidence to show proof that your central visual acuity is less than or equal to 20/200 in the better eye, is by providing testing carried out using the Snellen methodology, or another comparable test. For peripheral vision, the exam must have used an automatic static threshold perimetry test. You are not required to show proof of how you became blind, only that the meet the established criteria.

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