In general, blindness affects Californians in two way: those who have been blind all their lives, and those who become blind, either by way of an accident, injury, illness or due to the gradual aging process. In both situations, Californians who suffer from blindness can face a wide variety of challenges, most notable of which is the ability to earn a living.
So, is there any way that the Social Security Administration can help people who are suffering from blindness? Yes, and there are, in fact, two possible ways: Social Security Disability or Supplemental Security Income. Depending on the person’s unique circumstances, one or the other might apply.
First, for a person who becomes blind due to illness, age or injury, there is a greater chance that Social Security Disability (SSD) will be the program to help. This is because the person is more likely to have a work history that, when combined with the disability of blindness, is more likely to see a person meet the requirements for SSD benefits.
For a person who is born blind, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is likely to be the program to help. SSI benefits are open to anyone — not just those who have a work history. In order to qualify for SSI benefits, the applicant must be of severely limited means. Accordingly, there is an income threshold that cannot be exceeded. So, if a person is born blind and has never worked as a result, there is a greater possibility that Supplemental Security Income may be an option.
Either way though, navigating the SSI and SSD application process can be challenging and confusing. Often, seeking help and advice can make that process much easier to navigate.
Source: SSA.gov, “If You’re Blind Or Have Low Vision-How We Can Help,” accessed on Nov. 14, 2015