Those suffering from blindness may be able to qualify for Social Security Disability in Kentucky. In this blog, we cover critical details regarding blindness and benefits, including qualifying for SSDI benefits, working while receiving benefits, and how the government calculates your benefits.
How Do I Qualify For SSDI Benefits for Blindness?
In order to qualify for Social Security Disability in Kentucky for blindness, you need to meet the Social Security Administration’s definition of blindness. The two factors that determine your eligibility to receive benefits involve your central vision acuity and vision field efficiency.
Central vision acuity refers to your ability to see things in front of you. If your central vision acuity is 20/200 or worse, you could be considered legally blind. An important qualification is that your vision needs to be 20/200 while using lenses. If you have less than 20/200 vision but you have corrective lenses that improve your vision, you likely won’t qualify for SSDI benefits.
If your central vision acuity is greater than 20/200, you may still be able to qualify for SSDI benefits through your vision field efficiency. Vision field efficiency refers to your peripheral vision. If your peripheral vision is 20 degrees or less, you could qualify for SSDI benefits.
Another important element with both central vision acuity and vision field efficiency is that the assessments have to involve your better eye. If one of your eyes sees 20/200 but your other eye sees 20/100, you wouldn’t qualify for SSDI benefits because your stronger eye is not legally blind.
To prove you meet the Social Security Administration’s qualifications, you’ll need to have your eyesight inspected by an optometrist or ophthalmologist.
Working While Receiving Benefits
Those receiving Social Security Disability in Kentucky have limitations regarding the amount of money they can earn per month, but those considered legally blind can earn a higher wage than those on other forms of SSDI benefits. As of 2022, those receiving SSDI benefits for blindness can still make $2,260 per month. If you earn more than $2,260, your SSDI benefits will end. Those receiving SSDI benefits not related to blindness can only earn $1,350 a month.
If you’re over the age of 55, the Social Security Administration will not end your benefits if you earn over the limit. Instead, you’ll qualify for benefits every month that you earn under $2,260.
How Are Blindness Benefits Calculated?
The Social Security Administration calculates your benefits based on your average lifetime earnings, so someone who made an average of $100,000 a year will receive more money in SSDI benefits than someone who only made $50,000.
Fortunately, the Social Security Administration offers a disability freeze rule for those who are legally blind. If you’re blind and you continue working, you can freeze your contributions to your average yearly income. This benefits those who make less than they did in previous years because of their disability. For example, if someone earned an average income of $50,000 before they became legally blind and now only make $30,000, they can use the disability freeze so that their yearly average remains at $50,000. The Social Security Administration’s disability freeze is only available to those who qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits but are still working without receiving SSDI benefits.
Contact a Western Kentucky Social Security Attorney
Social Security Disability Insurance benefits are critical for those suffering from legal blindness, but, sadly, many applicants struggle with receiving the disability benefits they deserve. The process of receiving approval for SSDI benefits is time-consuming and is often difficult. In fact, the Social Security Administration denies 63% of SSDI applicants. Additionally, only 22% of applicants receive approval when they initially apply.
If the Social Security Administration denies your claim, you’ll likely need to undergo multiple appeals to prove that you qualify for SSDI benefits. Sadly, numerous applicants give up during the long and difficult process.
If you’re struggling to receive the Social Security Disability Insurance benefits you deserve, you need legal support to help you through the appeals process. Hiring an experienced Social Security attorney will help you prove your qualifications and receive the SSDI benefits.
For Social Security support in Western Kentucky, contact Rhoads & Rhoads. You can schedule a free initial consultation by calling our office at 888-709-9329, or you can schedule a consultation online here.