What Is Considered Legally Blind In Canada
Being legally blind does not mean that you are completely blind. Those who are legally blind often can see some things, but their eyesight could be very narrow or extremely blurry.
In Canada, someone is considered blind under the law if their best eye has less than 20/200 vision, even with the help of contact lens or glasses. To put that in perspective, it means that the person cannot see more than six meters in front of them. Normal vision allows you to see about 60 meters away.
You can also be considered legally blind if your vision field is less than 20 degrees with the help of glasses or contacts. That means that you have trouble seeing on the sides .
Because being legally blind is measured by your best eye, that means that you likely are not considered disabled if you are only blind in one eye.
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What Does This Mean To The Sighted Community
When you meet your vision impaired friend please introduce yourself as if you had called her on the telephone.
Be proactive, and greet your friend when she is out and about. Remember that your vision impaired friend cannot see that you are seated just across the aisle and could be upset if the next time you meet, you said, I saw someone on the train that looked like you but she was reading so I knew that it could not be you because you are blind. Alas it was her vision impaired friend who was not amused.
Please always clean up after your dog. A white cane cannot detect dog droppings on the footpath.
Vision impaired people are unlikely to see clear glass doors, steps, display stands or overhanging branches. So please keep the footpath clear for the safety of our vision impaired friends and because the local Council could fine you for obstructions.
Do not distract the pilot, please. A guide dog is piloting his handler so allow him to concentrate on his job. You must not touch or talk to or otherwise distract a guide dog while it is in harness.
Not all blind or low vision people have guide dogs. Many vision impaired people use a white cane to see the surface just ahead. Others just use their limited vision to get about slowly.
Finally remember that your vision impaired friend is still the same person she was before she lost her sight. Your friend still has her sense of humor and her love of coffee but is now less likely to criticize your choice of clothing.
Blindness And Vision Impairments In The Workplace And The Ada
Posted: The Americans with Disabilities Act , which was amended by the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 2008 , is a federal law that prohibits discrimination against qualified individuals with disabilities. Individuals with disabilities include those who have impairments that substantially limit a major life activity, have a record of a substantially limiting impairment, or are regarded as having a disability. Title I of the ADA covers employment by private em
What Medicare Doesnt Cover
Not all eye conditions can be prevented, treated or cured.
When vision loss is permanent, you will require services or equipment to help you adapt and retain your independence.
Low Vision Services and Devices You May Need That Medicare Doesnt Cover
- Visual aids, such as electronic magnifiers and video monitors
- Special software that enlarges computer text or reads text out loud
- Transportation services
- Assistive tools, such as large print calendars and talking watches
- Rehabilitation services to teach you daily living skills, such as cooking and how to use a white cane
- Vocational services to help make your workplace more accessible or train you in a new career
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Specific Records That The Ssa Requires For Visually Impaired And Blind Applicants May Include:
- Snellen method or similar visual acuity tests: measures how well a patient can see objects based on distance and location in relation to the central field of vision
- Automated static threshold perimetry or kinetic perimetry exams: document shrinking or contraction of the central field vision over time
- Humphrey Field Analyzer visual field tests: documents central and peripheral vision when a patient is focused on a fixed point
Your doctor can help you understand whether your medical records meet the SSAs requirements. He or she can also determine any gaps in your medical documentation and fill in those gaps by completing evaluations according to SSA documentation standards.
Facts About Low Vision
Most surveys and studies indicate that the majority of people in the United States with vision loss are adults who are not totally blind instead, they have what is referred to as low vision. You may have heard the terms “partial sight” or “partial blindness” or even “poor vision” also used to describe low vision. Those descriptions are no longer in general use, however.
Here is one definition of low vision, related to visual acuity:
- Low vision is a condition caused by eye disease, in which visual acuity is 20/70 or poorer in the better-seeing eye and cannot be corrected or improved with regular eyeglasses.
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Guide For Assessing Persons With Disabilities
What do you need to know about the disability?
Problems related to vision loss differ markedly from one person to another. Persons with vision disabilities who may require assessment accommodations include:
For an interview:
Disability Benefits For Legally Blind Individuals
Blindness or visual impairment gives rise to problems that affect every area of your life, even your ability to work.
Fortunately, benefits for legally blind individuals are available from the Social Security Administration as well as the Pennsylvania State Blind Pension Program or your state program.
Eligibility standards for blind disability benefits are strict and subject to discretion, however, and you could easily be denied benefits for the blind unless you know exactly what youre doing.
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Other Programs And Services To Check Out
We have covered just a few of the special programs available for people with vision loss. There are many other areas that are covered by state and federal laws that you should consider.
Property tax exemptions in some statesExample Indiana
Specialized Equipment for People with Vision and Hearing Loss (computers, phones, tablets, and others: iCanConnect.org | The National Deaf-Blind Equipment Distribution Program
Transportation: Learn about transportation resources in your community through the Eldercare locatorat 800-677-1116 or their website: .
White Cane Safety Laws: White Cane Laws for States | American Council of the Blind
Medicare Offers Accessible Options For The Visually Impaired
In 2016, three blind beneficiaries partnered with the National Federation of the Blind to sue CMS. They alleged that the federal agency failed to provide meaningful and equal access to Medicare information in accessible formats.
The effort was successful. In 2018, a settlement was reached, requiring CMS to set up processes that allow beneficiaries to make a single request and receive all Medicare communications in an accessible format.
If you have low vision, you can request Medicare information in large print, braille, audio and electronic formats.
Other changes to make Medicare more accessible included:
- Providing accessible, fillable forms for beneficiaries on Medicare.gov.
- Giving beneficiaries who request accessible formats more time to respond to CMS communications.
- Creating a plan to promote the availability of accessible Medicare materials.
- Training employees on compliance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.
- Testing to ensure that information on Medicare.gov is accessible.
- Providing popular CMS publications in accessible e-book formats.
- Allocating special staff to coordinate and support CMS accessible Medicare communications.
Remember, if you request information from CMS in an alternative format, you wont be disadvantaged by any additional time it takes the government to provide it to you.
For more information about accessibility and nondiscrimination, visit the Medicare website.
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Types Of Jobs Being Done By Blind People
Posted: Blind and visually impaired people can find meaningful work in administrative roles such as executive assistant, secretary or office clerk. An employer can work with a blind employee to assess her specific needs in order to accommodate her specific disability. Such accommodations may include getting an optical character reader or text magnifier to help a legally blind person read text on a computer. These accommodations will also help the employee better carry out the necessary tasks of her administrative
Disability Tax Credit For Blindness And Other Support
Patients suffering from untreatable blindness must take specific considerations into account as it pertains to living with this condition. Life without the ability to see causes obvious complications. However, the modern world offers specific technologies, programs, and other methods of support to assist those suffering from blindness. Some of these include:
- Visual aids, such as text-reading software and Braille books, that allow for reading.
- Seeing-eye dogs and the simple use of a cane allow for the ability to navigate outside of the home.
- Specially trained rehabilitation experts, teachers, and others suffering from blindness, offer education and tips for living without sight.
The Canadian National Institute for the Blind provides support for the blind to assist them in increasing their independence. The Canadian government also offers a Disability Tax Credit for Blindness to help with the expenses of special care and assistance to help blind people cope with the condition. Though blindness is a serious handicap, there are sufficient techniques and strategies made available so that individuals dealing with blindness can continue to live a full and rich life.
Learn more at the CNIB website
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What Happens If Your Ssi Application Is Denied
After you have submitted your childs SSI claim, you will not receive a decision for several months. If you are approved, you will receive a letter confirming your childs benefit amount and payment schedule. If your child is denied, you will receive a letter containing the reason for his or her denial.
If you are denied, do not panic. This is quite common. You should remain calm and file an appeal as soon as possible. Many more applicants are approved during the appeals process than during the initial application.
National Organizations For The Blind
The American Council of the Blind is a nonprofit founded in 1962 that advocates for the blind, puts on an annual convention, and offers peer support and legal assistance, including a list of state white cane” laws.
The American Foundation for the Blind is a nonprofit that offers advocacy, publishes the peer-reviewed Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness, helps to make sure blind children get the resources they need and publishes AccessWorld Magazine, which covers news, products and trends related to visual impairment.
The AFB has partner sites that offer assistance and resources to the visually impaired in various areas. These sites include:
The Council of Citizens with Low Vision International is an advocacy and membership organization for individuals with blindness or low vision. The organization offers several scholarships to individuals with low vision.
The National Federation of the Blind is the largest organization run by blind people in the United States. Its an advocacy and membership organization that also has multiple local branches and is dedicated to helping blind people live their best lives. The NFB has a variety of programs, including one that offers assistance to blind people with any COVID-19 vaccination-related tasks.
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Apps For The Legally Blind
Smartphone apps can help the blind and vision impaired navigate the world and do everyday tasks more easily.
The American Foundation for the Blind offers a list of apps for the blind and visually impaired.
Popular apps include Be My Eyes, an app that connects a blind user with a sighted volunteer who can offer assistance via video with routine tasks like setting an oven to the right temperature. The Seeing AI app can help iPhone users by reading text aloud and scanning and reading grocery labels. And the KNFB Reader is a text-reading app available on both iOS and Android that provides optical character recognition
Medically Qualifying With Vision Loss
The SSA uses its own medical guide, known colloquially as the Blue Book, to determine if an applicant is eligible for Social Security disability benefits. There are a few listings for vision loss in the Blue Book.
The most straightforward way to qualify for disability is to prove that your vision is legally blind, or 20/200 or worse. This will automatically qualify for disability benefits.
If youre not legally blind, there are still other ways to qualify, but youll need to take some standard tests first. The SSA will also approve people who experience contraction of the visual fields or loss of visual efficiency. Because the entire Blue Book is available online, you can review the listings with your doctor to see which exams you may need to take to qualify for benefits. The Blue Book outlines exactly what medical criteria are needed for approval, but it is best interpreted by an optometrist or another vision expert.
Can A Legally Blind Person Read A Snellen Chart
A common test for visual acuity is the Snellen eye chart. Someone who is legally blind would be able to read only the top line of the chart, a capital E while wearing corrective lenses. The line below the big E is the line for 20/100. There are also tests that can measure in between 20/200 and 20/100.
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Tax Benefits And Deductions
Visually impaired taxpayers are allowed a larger standard deduction on their federal income tax returns. In addition, you can deduct costs related to medical treatment for your vision loss, including Braille printers and the costs of Braille books and periodicals that exceed standard versions. You can also deduct the cost of your eyeglasses, examinations and any optical surgery, along with necessary modifications to your home to accommodate your condition. If you have a guide dog, the cost of his care including trips to the vet is deductible.
If you work, you can subtract expenses necessary for you to continue employment, whether you work for someone else or are self-employed. The Internal Revenue Service refers to these as impairment-related work expenses. Check with your state’s department of taxation for state-related tax breaks for legally blind people.
To Qualify For Disability Benefits Your Vision Loss Or Blindness Must Meet One Of The Following Listings:
- Loss of central visual acuity this listing covers loss in your central field of vision and requires you see no better than 20/200 in your better eye.
- Contraction of the visual field in the better eye you can qualify under this listing if you have a shrinking field of vision. Your doctor must measure your vision with specific tests and must record what youre able to see when youre focusing on a fixed point. This listing requires reports of your visual field, which is the distance in all directions from the fixed point on which youre focused. That diameter must be no greater than 20 to 30 degrees. In others words, your visual field must be very narrow.
- Loss of visual efficiency, or visual impairment this listing covers issues that cause blurry or unfocused vision or an absence of vision . To qualify, you must have vision in your better eye that is no greater than 20/200 when wearing corrective lenses.
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