As people get older, they sometimes notice changes in our eyesight, short-term memory, and other faculties that they took for granted when they were younger. If you find that some activities have gotten harder, or you feel like you just aren’t as sharp as you used to be, it might just be a normal part of aging.

But sometimes, it isn’t normal. Sometimes an accident or sudden illness robs a person of sight. Other times, a chronic condition causes a loss of vision over time, which the person mistakes for normal aging. Diabetes and glaucoma are common causes of serious, but gradual, vision loss.

If a member of your family is losing their vision, understand that it’s a frightening experience, but not a hopeless one. Programs like SSI and SSDI can help your family manage their finances after a loved one loses their vision.

Social Security benefits for vision loss

When a person begins losing their vision, they may still have employment opportunities. Improved awareness of disability is making the modern workplace more accommodating, allowing many people with total vision loss to continue working.

However, not everyone with visual impairment is able to work. People who lose their vision later in life, or have other conditions that cause occupational impairment, can have a harder time adapting to the change. People in these situations may want to consider disability benefits.

The application process for SSI and SSDI involves gathering medical records, work history, and information about your family member’s day-to-day life. At some point after applying, Social Security will schedule an interview with a medical practitioner, who will ask more detailed questions about your loved one’s condition.

Once Social Security has a better picture of your family member’s disability, the decision-making process begins. This is known to be a very long process, and in many cases, the initial decision as a rejection. A series of appeals and hearings is often required to finally get approval. It can be difficult for many people with disabilities to manage their finances during this time.

If your loved one can no longer work because of vision loss, applying for Social Security benefits is worth the time and effort it takes. But many disabilities, especially vision loss, can make the application process even more difficult. You may need to help your family member complete the application.

Fortunately, Social Security makes allowances for this. In most cases, you don’t need explicit legal authorization, like power of attorney, to complete some or all of the application on a family member’s behalf. Your loved one should sign the application if they are able, but even in this case, exceptions can be made.

Helping a member of your family cope with losing their vision is not an easy task. During this time, it’s important that you stay connected with people who can help, especially if you’re considering applying for Social Security benefits. A qualified disability attorney like Katherine can maximize your chances of approval, and can guide you through every part of the process. For a free consultation, we can be easily reached by phone, email, or text message.