Social Security Disability Eligibility for People With Diabetic Retinopathy

People with diabetes face many risks, including a serious condition that could cause blindness. This condition is known as diabetic retinopathy.

Diabetic retinopathy occurs when the retina’s blood vessels are damaged. The blood vessels may leak blood or other fluids and cause damage to retinal tissue. The result can be cloudy vision, blurred vision, other visual problems, or blindness. This can leave a person unable to work and permanently disabled.

And This May Leave a Person Eligible for Social Security Disability

The Social Security Administration’s (SSA) Listing of Impairments does not list diabetic retinopathy, or other specific causes of eye conditions, separately. Instead, the SSA is focused on the effect of the condition on an applicant’s eyesight.

Visual disabilities are described in Section 2.00 of the Listing of Impairments. Generally, you may be eligible for Social Security disability if you have a certain loss of:

  • Visual acuity
  • Visual field
  • Visual efficiency

If you are disabled because you are blind, then special rules apply to you. For example, you may be able to earn more each month than a Social Security disability recipient who is not blind.

Please Help Raise Awareness About This Issue

Loss of sight can be a devastating effect of diabetes. November is Diabetic Eye Disease Awareness Month. Accordingly, let’s help raise awareness both about this condition and about how Social Security disability may help people who develop diabetic eye disease such as retinopathy. Please share this blog post on Facebook and other social media sites to get the word out.

Carl M. Weisbrod
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Managing Partner of Morgan & Weisbrod, Board Certified in Social Security Disability Law
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