I'm legally blind. Why was my Social Security Disability claim denied?

Kendra is a 55-year-old former business owner who recently sought my assistance for her Social Security Disability Claim.  Kendra is a nice lady who describes herself as a people person and as one who likes to talk.  We enjoy working with her.  On multiple occasions, she has told my team that she does not understand why SSA did not just approve her claim as she is “legally blind.” 

When I asked her who told her she was “legally blind” and what did they mean – she said her eye doctor.  When discussing the case with her eye doctor, a very respected ophthalmologist in Metairie, Louisiana – I figured out the issue.  He was referring to “legally blind” as the legal vision requirements to obtain or keep a Louisiana driver’s license.  Those requirements are different than the legal requirements for blindness under SSA rules.

Under SSA rules, a person meets the listing for vision impairment if the following is true:

  • Remaining vision in the better eye after best correction is 20/200 or less;
  • If a person has contraction of the visual field in the better eye with: (a) widest diameter subtending an angle around point of fixation no greater than 20 degrees; OR (b) an MD of 22 or greater; OR (c) visual field efficiency of 20 percent or less; OR
  • Have a visual efficiency percentage of 20 percent or less after best correction OR a visual impairment value of 1.00 or greater after best correction.

Kendra’s vision was bad – very bad – so bad in fact that her doctor said under Louisiana law she could not drive.  But her vision was not quite bad enough to meet the legal requirements for a vision impairment under SSA’s rules.   So while Kendra was legally blind according to the Louisiana DMV, she was not according to SSA.

Please note: Names are changed and details from multiple cases may be combined for dramatic effect. 

If you have a vision impairment and are fighting for Social Security Disability Benefits, the team at Louisiana Disability Law stands ready to help.  Give us a call at 985-240-9773 today!

Loyd J. Bourgeois
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Disability, Personal Injury, and Divorce Attorney
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