Quality Vision CareFor Miami

Qualifying for Social Security With Vision Loss

Qualifying for Social Security With Vision Loss


If you or someone you love has vision loss that makes it impossible to work, you may be eligible for financial assistance. The Social Security Administration (SSA) offers monthly disability benefits for people in need. If you’re approved for disability, you’ll be eligible for monthly assistance that can be used to pay for your medical bills, transportation needs, assistive technology, childcare, rent or a mortgage, or any other daily living needs.


Medical Eligibility for Disability Benefits


The SSA will use its own medical guide for qualifying criteria, known colloquially as the Blue Book. The Blue Book contains hundreds of conditions that qualify for benefits, plus the required test results or symptoms needed for approval. There are three separate listings for vision loss, depending on what type of vision loss you have.


  1. If you are legally blind (vision of 20/200 or worse), you’ll be approved for disability benefits.


  1. The second listing for vision loss deals with how far around a fixed point is—if you’re unable to see more than 20 degrees from a fixed point or you have a MD score of 22 decibels or greater* you’ll be approved.


  1. If you have a visual efficiency percentage* of 20 or less or if you have a visual impairment value* or 1.00 or greater, you’ll qualify for disability benefits.


*So what is an MD score, a visual impairment value, or a visual efficiency percentage? These are tested used by the SSA to determine how much you can see if your vision is better than 20/200. The exact testing methodology for all three of these metrics is outlined in the Blue Book. Because the entire Blue Book is available online, you can review the vision loss listings with your optometrist to determine if you’re eligible.


“Better Eye” and “Best Correction” Rule


To be approved for disability benefits with vision loss you’ll need to prove that your vision has been recorded in your best eye. This means that if you’re blind in one eye but you have good vision in another, you will not be approved for disability benefits. You also must experience severe vision loss despite your “best correction,” which includes glasses, contacts, or even surgery if applicable. For example, if you have 20/200 vision but you’re able to see without difficulty while wearing glasses, you will not be approved for disability benefits.


Starting Your Application


The easiest way to apply for disability benefits is online on the SSA’s website. The SSA’s website is optimized for text readers so you shouldn’t have any problem applying if you already have assistive technology, but if you’d prefer you can also ask a family member to fill out the application on your behalf. If you’d rather apply with the assistance from a Social Security Administration employee, you can do so in person at your local SSA office. Call the SSA toll free at 1-800-772-1213 to make an appointment to apply in person today.


If you have applied for disability benefits, and would like to see a physician at our office, or you have any questions about scheduling an appointment for an evaluation, we are happy to help at 305-598-2020.


Helpful Links:

SSA’s Website: https://www.ssa.gov/

Center for Eye Care Services: https://centerforeyecare.com/services/

SSA’s Blue Book Explained: https://www.disability-benefits-help.org/glossary/social-security-blue-book

Blue Book Vision Loss Listings: https://www.ssa.gov/disability/professionals/bluebook/2.00-SpecialSensesandSpeech-Adult.htm

SSA’s Blue Book: https://www.ssa.gov/disability/professionals/bluebook/AdultListings.htm

Online Application: https://secure.ssa.gov/iClaim/dib

SSA Office Locations: https://www.disability-benefits-help.org/social-security-disability-locations