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What are the rules for SSI benefits due to blindness?

For those in Mississippi who are who are suffering from full or partial blindness, there are different rules to receiving Supplemental Security Income in comparison to other programs. This must be understood when applying for SSI benefits. Benefits can be paid to people through the Social Security disability or SSI program if they are diagnosed as being blind. For SSI, there is various criteria that must be met to be able to receive benefits.

The Social Security Administration considers an applicant blind if the vision is diagnosed as 20/200 in the better eye or if their visual field is 20 degrees or less in the stronger eye. Even those who are not classified as blind might be able to receive benefits if their vision issues and other health problems stop them from being able to work. With SSI, it is not necessary for a person to have paid into the program. They must, however, be below certain limits when it comes to income and resources. Each state has different limits on income and resources.

The SSI program is available for people who are 65 or older, blind, or disabled. This program might also be available if the applicant is a child and whose parents have little income or resources. With SSI, certain income is not calculated when it is determined whether or not a person is eligible to receive benefits. The first $20 of income a person receives; the first $65 earned per month from working and half the amount that surpasses $65; Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits; shelter if it is coming from nonprofit organizations; and the majority of home energy assistance programs are all excluded. Those who are married will have part of the spouse’s income and resources calculated.

If a blind person is receiving wages that must be used for work expenses, this is not calculated into the decision as to whether he or she meets the income requirements to be approved for SSI. If it is necessary for the blind person to pay for transportation to get to and from work, this will not be counted as income. For blind people below a certain income level who would like to receive Supplemental Security Income, speaking to a legal professional experienced in helping clients get SSI benefits is imperative to moving forward with a claim. That is the first call an applicant should make before moving forward.

Source:, “If You’re Blind Or Have Low Vision — How We Can Help,” accessed on Nov. 5, 2015


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