The Social Security Administration (SSA) offers disability benefits for those with a number of different visual impairments, ranging from blindness to more minor vision problems that make it difficult to work. In fact, disability benefits recipients who are legally blind have special rules when it comes to SSDI benefits, SSI benefits, and employment.
Here are four ways that the rules for Social Security differ for those who are blind or have severely limited vision:
- Qualifying for benefits: For most workers with disabilities, they earn credit that counts toward their future disability benefits by paying Social Security taxes. For those with vision impairment, they may work toward earning Social Security credit at any time even after they are found legally blind.
- Disability freeze. Those who are blind have the option of not counting their post-blindness work income toward their average lifetime earnings. This rule, called a disability freeze, often allows those with vision impairment to work toward higher retirement or disability benefits in the future without having to worry that their new job is bringing their average earnings down.
- Higher work earnings. While most people receiving Social Security disability are limited to making $1,010 per month in 2012, blind recipients are allowed to make $1,690. In addition, self-employed blind workers do not have a limit on how much time they spend working, unlike other disabled workers.
- Special notices and publications. A number of the SSA’s major publications are available in audio file, enlarged print, or Braille. At the same time, blind or vision impaired benefits recipients can request notices and other mail in audio CD, Word files, or other alternate forms.
Do you want to know if your visual impairment, income, and employment history qualifies you for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits or Supplemental Security Insurance (SSI) benefits? Do you want to learn more about how those with visual impairments can better navigate the Social Security disability process and system? Call disability lawyers in Dallas that can help. The attorneys at Morgan & Weisbrod can answer your questions, examine your work and medical histories, and help you get the support you need.
by Paul B. Burkhalter Managing Partner of Morgan & Weisbrod, Board Certified in Social Security Disability Law.