Are there special disability rules for claimants who are legally blind?

Yes, there are special social security disability rules for people who are blind or have impaired vision. The SSA considers you to be legally blind if your vision cannot be corrected to better than 20/20 in your better eye, or if your visual field is 20 degrees or less, even with a corrective lens. Many people who meet the legal definition of blindness still have some sight, and may be able to read large print and get around without a cane or a guide dog. If you do not meet the legal definition of blindness, you may still qualify for disability benefits if your vision problems alone or combined with other health problems prevent you from working.

Many special rules exist for people who are blind that recognize the severe impact of blindness on an individual’s ability to work. For example, the monthly earnings limit for blind people is typically higher than the limit that applies to non-blind disabled workers. The monthly earnings limit in 2011 was $1,640.