Social Security Benefits for Children with Blindness or Low Vision

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Blindness or extremely low vision can severely limit the functioning of a person. If your child has these conditions, he or she can seek Supplementary Security Income (SSI) disability benefits, and our Greenville disability lawyers can help you apply. A pre-condition to this is that the finances of the child applying for SSI benefits must be below the limit defined by the Social Security Administration (SSA). SSA also has strict requirements that must be met to qualify for blindness or low vision benefits. Here’s a look at how SSA defines these conditions and how you can seek SSI benefits for your child.

How is Blindness or Low Vision Defined?

If your child is blind or has an extremely low vision, it must meet the definition for these conditions set forth by SSA. As per this definition, blindness or low vision is defined as having a 20/200 vision or less in the best eye of the child. This limit is applicable when your child is wearing corrective glasses. 20/200 essentially means that the child sees only up to 20 feet where an average person with good eyesight can see up to 200 feet. This applies when your child is seeking benefits for either blindness or low vision.

It is important to note that this limit applies to the better eye of the child. If one eye has 20/200 or even 20/400 vision but the other eye is far better, your child does not meet the requirement.

How to Prove Blindness or Low Vision?

Proving blindness or low vision that meets SSA’s requirements is fairly straight-forward. You will need to take your child to an ophthalmologist or optometrist who would test the eyesight and provide you with a report. This, along with any other relevant medical records, can be submitted to SSA. SSA may independently verify the eyesight of the child although the agency will not discuss how such low vision impairs the child’s functioning.

What if My Child Doesn’t Meet the 20/200 Criteria?

Sometimes, even with eyesight that is better than 20/200, your child may have extremely limited functioning abilities. In such a case, you can explore other ways of seeking benefits for your child. Here’s a look at these.

Applying by Using Listing of Impairments

SSA has a detailed Childhood Listing of Impairments which includes several listings that pertain to the vision of a child. Here’s a look at these listings:

  • Listing 102.02(B): This listing details vision problems where a child’s better eye is unable to fix on or follow an object.
  • Listing 102.03: This listing applies where a child may have limited peripheral vision or a contraction of the visual field.
  • Listing 102.04: This listing is concerned with a condition where a child may suffer from both poor central acuity and poor peripheral vision.

All the listings mentioned above have very specific technical requirements. The medical records of your child must meet at least one of these requirements to qualify for benefits. You can check these requirements in SSA’s Childhood Listing of Impairments.

Compassionate Allowances Program

SSA’s Compassionate Allowances Program offers disability benefits for both children and adults who suffer from particularly serious conditions. The program is a quick way for such individuals to receive benefits. The Program lists a number of disorders. Two of these pertain to childhood blindness including Bilateral Optic Atrophy in infants and Bilateral Retinoblastoma in infants or toddlers.

Both conditions can severely limit the eyesight of a child and both qualify for benefits under the Compassionate Allowances Program. If your child suffers from either of these conditions, you can avail the Program as a fast-track method of receiving benefits.

Applying by Proving Limited Functioning of the Child

If your child’s blindness or low vision does not meet the 20/200 criterion and is not covered under the Compassionate Allowances Program, you have a third option. You can demonstrate that your child is functionally limited in at least two of the six domains of functioning defined by SSA. Such limited functioning is evaluated by SSA by considering the child’s age and other factors.

Hiring Child Disability Lawyers in Greenville SC

If your child suffers from low vision or complete blindness, SSA’s disability benefits can go a long way towards helping them get an education and be financially cared for. Here at Robert Surface law firm, our child disability lawyers in Greenville SC help you file for these benefits. We advise you on choosing the right program under which you can get benefits for your child at the earliest. Contact us today to book a FREE consultation with our lawyers.