Special Rules For People Who Are Blind Or Have Low Vision
We consider you to be legally blind under Social Security rules if your vision cannot be corrected to better than 20/200 in your better eye. We will also consider you legally blind if your visual field is 20 degrees or less, even with a corrective lens. Many people who meet the legal definition of blindness still have some sight and may be able to read large print and get around without a cane or a guide dog.
If you do not meet the legal definition of blindness, you may still qualify for disability benefits. This may be the case if your vision problems alone or combined with other health problems prevent you from working.
There are several special rules for people who are blind that recognize the severe impact of blindness on a persons ability to work. For example, the monthly earnings limit for people who are blind is generally higher than the limit that applies to non-blind workers with disabilities.
In 2022, the monthly earnings limit is $2,260.
What We Will Ask You
Depending on the information you provide, we may need to ask other questions.
You also should have with you your checkbook or other papers that show your account number at a bank, credit union or other financial institution so you can sign up for Direct Deposit, and avoid worries about lost or stolen checks and mail delays.
What Happens If I Work And Get Social Security Retirement Benefits
You can get Social Security retirement benefits and work at the same time. However, if you are younger than full retirement age and make more than the yearly earnings limit, we will reduce your benefit. Starting with the month you reach full retirement age, we will not reduce your benefits no matter how much you earn.
- We use the following earnings limits to reduce your benefits: If you are under full retirement age for the entire year, we deduct $1 from your benefit payments for every $2 you earn above the annual limit.
For 2022 that limit is $19,560.
- In the year you reach full retirement age, we deduct $1 in benefits for every $3 you earn above a different limit, but we only count earnings before the month you reach your full retirement age.
If you will reach full retirement age in 2022, the limit on your earnings for the months before full retirement age is $51,960.
Starting with the month you reach full retirement age, you can get your benefits with no limit on your earnings.
Use our Retirement Age Calculator to find your full retirement age based on your date of birth.
Use our Retirement Earnings Test Calculator to find out how much your benefits will be reduced.
What counts as earnings:
Your benefits may increase when you work:
When youre ready to apply for retirement benefits, use our online retirement application, the quickest, easiest, and most convenient way to apply.
If you need to report a change in your earnings after you begin receiving benefits:
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What Documents Do You Need To Apply For Retirement Benefits
We request different documents depending on your circumstances. You can help by being ready to provide the information and documents listed below. You can also use our Checklist For The Online Medicare, Retirement, And Spouses Application to help you gather the information you need to apply.
Documents we may ask for include:
- Your Social Security card or a record of your number.
- Your original birth certificate, a copy certified by the issuing agency, or other proof of your age.We must see the original document, or copies certified by the agency that issued them. We cannot accept photocopies or notarized copies.
- If you were not born in the U.S., proof of U.S. citizenship or lawful alien status. We must see the original document, or copies certified by the agency that issued them. We cannot accept documents if they have expired. We cannot accept photocopies or notarized copies.
- A copy of your U.S. military service paper if you served before 1968. A photocopy is acceptable.
- A copy of your W-2 form and/or self-employment tax return for last year. A photocopy is acceptable.
We will return all documents and photocopies unless specifically told otherwise.
How To Apply For Social Security Disability Benefits
On Behalf of The Disability Law Office of Jeffrey S. Lichtman, LLC | Sep 23, 2022 | Social Security Disability
Once you determined that your injury is serious enough to prevent you from working at least a year, it is crucial to take the steps to apply for Social Security disability benefits.
Do so as soon as possible because it may take you more than a year to receive those benefits. But to even get to that point, you must apply. And you may apply online, via phone by calling 800-772-1213 or in person at your local Social Security office.
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Supplemental Security Income Application Process And Applicants’ Rights
CHECK IF YOU ARE ELIGIBLE FOR SSI AND HOW TO APPLY
We strongly recommend you check the eligibility requirements for SSI before you start your application or contact us to make an appointment. If you are unsure you may qualify after reading these requirements, call us at 1-800-772-1213 .
You can apply for SSI benefits by:
Visiting our Apply Online for Disability Benefits website to start the disability application process online. You may be eligible to apply for SSI through the online disability application.
Having someone else call and make the appointment for you or assist you with your application for SSI.
WHEN TO APPLY
Apply as soon as possible so that you do not lose benefits. We cannot pay benefits for time periods earlier than the effective date of your application.
If you call us to make an appointment to apply and you keep your appointment and file an application, we may use the date of your call as your application filing date.
If you do not keep this appointment and you do not contact us to reschedule the appointment, we will try to contact you. If we do not get in touch with you to reschedule the appointment, we will send you a letter. The letter will say that if you file an application within 60 days from the date of the letter, we will use the date of your original contact with us as your SSI application date.
|See our SSI Spotlight on Prerelease Procedure.
What You Need For Apply For Ssdi Or Ssi Benefits
You will get a faster decision when you apply for Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income with the Social Security Administration if you provide:
- Your Social Security number
- Medical records from your doctors, therapists, hospitals, clinics and caseworkers
- Laboratory and test results
- Names, addresses, phone and fax numbers of your doctors, clinics and hospitals
- Names of all medications you are taking
- Names of your employers and job duties for the last 15 years
If you are applying for a child, you also need school records regarding your child’s disability.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Don’t wait to file your claim for disability payments even if you don’t have all this information.
If you think you may be eligible for payments, call 772-1213 to file a claim or contact your local Social Security Office . You must contact the Social Security Administration to apply for benefits. If you are looking for an online application for either SSDI or SSI visit ssa.gov. For an update on case status call the Vocational Disability Examiner as identified in your introductory claimant letter
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What Happens If The Dac Gets Married
If the child receives benefits as a DAC, the benefits generally end if they get married. However, some marriages are considered protected.
The rules vary depending on the situation. Contact a Social Security representative at 1-800-772-1213 to find out if the benefits can continue.
To speed up the application process, complete an Adult Disability Report and have it available at the time of your appointment.
What Conditions Qualify For Social Security Disability Insurance
There is no set list of approved disabilities, but the Social Security Blue Book, also known as Disability Evaluation Under Social Security, is an online directory of physical and mental health conditions that automatically qualify if you meet the stringent requirements for diagnosis. For adults, they are broadly split into 14 categories.
- Blood disorders like sickle cell anemia, thrombosis and hemophilia
- Cancer, including Leukemia, lymphoma, multiple myeloma, breast cancer and prostate cancer
- Cardiovascular illnesses, such as congenital heart disease and heart failure
- Cognitive andmental health conditions, such as bipolar disorder, dementia, depression and intellectual disabilities
- Congenital disorders that affect multiple body systems, such as non-mosaic Down syndrome
- Digestive system illnesses, such as bowel or liver disease
- Endocrine disorders, such as diabetes, thyroid disease, hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia
- Genitourinary disorders like chronic kidney disease
- Immune system diseases like HIV, inflammatory arthritis and lupus
- Musculoskeletal issues that are congenital or acquired, such as spinal disorders or amputations
- Neurological disorders, such as Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis and traumatic brain injuries
- Respiratory illnesses, such as asthma, cystic fibrosis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
- Special sense and speech disorders, such as impaired hearing, sight and speech
- Skin disorders, such as burns, dermatitis and ichthyosis
What Do I Need To Know About Advance Designation
You should be aware of another type of representation called .
Advance Designation allows capable adult and emancipated minors who are applying for or receiving Social Security benefits, Supplemental Security Income, or Special Veterans Benefits the option to choose up to three people in advance who could serve as their representative payee, if the need arises.
In the event that you can no longer manage your benefits, you and your family will have peace of mind knowing that someone you trust may be appointed to manage your benefits for you. If you need a representative payee to assist with the management of your benefits, we will first consider your advance designees. We must still fully evaluate them and determine their suitability at that time.
You can submit and update your advance designation request when you apply for benefits or after you are already receiving benefits. You may do so through your personal account, contacting us by telephone at 1-800-772-1213 , or at .
When And How To Apply For Social Security
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Social Security could be a significant part of your retirement plan. But it doesn’t kick in automatically. To start receiving your Social Security retirement benefits, you’ll need to figure out when you want them to start and then submit an application.
Learn how to apply for Social Security, according to the Social Security Administration website.
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Documents You Need To Apply
Please select the benefit you will be applying for from the list below to see what information and documents you may need when you apply:
If you don’t have all the documents you need, don’t delay applying for Social Security benefits.
In many cases, your local Social Security office can contact your state Bureau of Vital Statistics and verify your information online at no cost to you. If we can’t verify your information online, we can still help you get the information you need.
Mailing Your Documents
If you mail any documents to us, you must include the Social Security number so that we can match them with the correct application. Do not write anything on the original documents. Please write the Social Security number on a separate sheet of paper and include it in the mailing envelope along with the documents.
If You Don’t Have All Of The Documents
Even if you don’t have everything, don’t delay applying for Social Security retirement benefits. You can provide the missing documents later. We may be able to help you get them.
In many cases, your local Social Security office can contact your state Bureau of Vital Statistics and verify your information online at no cost to you or find other ways to get the information we need.
If you delay signing up, you could lose some benefits you may be due.
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Already Enrolled In Medicare
If you have Medicare, you can get information and services online. Find out how to .
If you are enrolled in Medicare Part A and you want to sign up for Part B, please complete form CMS-40B, Application for Enrollment in Medicare Part B . If you are applying for Medicare Part B due to a loss of employment or group health coverage, you will also need to complete form CMS-L564, Request for Employment Information.
You can use one of the following options to submit your enrollment request under the Special Enrollment Period:
- State I want Part B coverage to begin in the remarks section of the CMS-40B form or online application.
- If possible, your employer should complete Section B.
- If your employer is unable to complete Section B, please complete that portion as best as you can on their behalf and submit one of the following forms of secondary evidence:
- Income tax form that shows health insurance premiums paid.
- W-2s reflecting pre-tax medical contributions.
- Pay stubs that reflect health insurance premium deductions.
- Health insurance cards with a policy effective date.
- Explanations of benefits paid by the GHP or LGHP.
- Statements or receipts that reflect payment of health insurance premiums.
Some people with limited resources and income may also be able to get .
Apply For Benefits Online
You should apply for disability benefits as soon as you develop a disability. Follow these easy steps to apply online for disability:
- To start your application, go to our Apply for Benefits page, and read and agree to the Terms of Service. Click Next.
- On that page, review the Getting Ready section to make sure you have the information you need to apply.
- Select Start A New Application.
- We will ask a few questions about who is filling out the application.
- You will then sign in to your personal mySocial Security account, or you will be prompted to create one.
- Complete the application.
You can use the online application to apply for disability benefits if you:
- Are age 18 or older.
- Are not currently receiving benefits on your own Social Security record.
- Are unable to work because of a medical condition that is expected to last at least 12 months or result in death.
- Have not been denied for disability in the last 60 days.
Note: If your application was recently denied, our application is a starting point to request a review of the determination we made.
You may be able to file online for SSI at the same time that you file for SSDI benefits. Once you complete the online process described above, a Social Security representative will contact you if we need additional information.
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Get Ssa Benefits While Living Abroad
U.S. citizens can travel to or live in most, but not all, foreign countries and still receive their Social Security benefits. You can find out if you can receive benefits overseas by using the Social Security Administrations payment verification tool. Once you access the tool, pick the country youre visiting or living in from the drop-down menu options.
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The Disability Application Process
Whether you apply online, by phone, or in person, the disability benefits application process follows these general steps:
- You gather the information and documents you need to apply. We recommend you print and review the . It will help you gather the information and documents you need to complete the application.
- You complete and submit your application.
- We review your application to make sure you meet our for disability benefits.
- We confirm you worked enough years to qualify.
- We evaluate any current work activities.
- We process your application and forward your case to the Disability Determination Services office in your state.
- This state agency makes the disability determination decision.
To learn more about who decides if you have a disability, read our publication .
Once You’ve Applied
Once we receive your application, well review it and contact you if we have questions. We might request additional documents from you before we can proceed.
Look For Our Response
When the state agency makes a determination on your case, youll receive a letter in the mail with our decision. If you included information about other family members when you applied, well let you know if they may be able to receive benefits on your record.
Check The Status
You can check the status of your application online using your personal mySocial Security account. If you are unable to check your status online, you can call us 1-800-772-1213 from 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.
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