While some people in Knoxville who are blind may find they are able to work, they may not be able to earn enough income to fully support themselves. Moreover, others elsewhere in the U.S. who are blind may find that their condition prevents them from being gainfully employed altogether. The Social Security Administration (SSA) recognizes this and has two programs to financially help those who are blind: Social Security disability (SSD) benefits and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

The medical requirements necessary to determine whether a person is considered blind for the purpose of receiving benefits are the same for both programs. First of all, a person will be determined to be blind if his or her vision is not able to be corrected to be better than 20/200 in the person’s good eye, or if the person’s visual field is 20 degrees or less in the person’s good eye. In addition, even if a person doesn’t meet this definition of blindness, he or she could still seek benefits if his or her vision problems combined with other health issues keep him or her from being gainfully employed.

In order to seek SSD benefits based on blindness, a person must have earned work credits by having worked in the past and therefore paid into the Social Security system for a certain amount of time. If a person is blind, he or she can earn work credits during any time that he or she has worked in the past. In addition, if a person does not have sufficient work credits based on his or her own earnings, the earnings of a parent or spouse may also be considered.

However, in order to seek SSI benefits based on blindness, a person does not have to have a work history or have paid into the Social Security system, but his or her income and resources has to be below a certain dollar amount. What these income limits are vary between states.

As this shows, there are different requirements for a person who is blind to receive SSD benefits or SSI benefits. An attorney in Knoxville can help individuals who are understand the differences between the two programs, so that the individual can make an informed choice.