DI 21501.225 South Dakota APTD/AB State Plan
A. Blindness—Eligibility Requirements Applicable to Aid to the Blind
In order to be eligible for AB, an individual must have no vision or have vision with corrective glasses so defective as to prevent the performance of ordinary activities for which eyesight is essential. An individual with central visual acuity of not more than 20/200 in the better eye with proper correction or whose field of vision does not extend beyond an angular distance of 20 degrees is eligible for assistance.
This definition of blindness has been formally approved by the American Academy of Ophthalmologists and Otolaryngologists. It is based on the definition of economic blindness adopted in 1934 by the American Medical Association. This definition of blindness should not be confused with total blindness since a person with the maximum degree of vision possible under this definition can see to do many things. In general, a person with 20/200 vision can see at 20 feet what the individual with normal vision can see at 200 feet.
B. Permanent and Total Disability—Eligibility Requirements Applicable to Aid to the Disabled
Permanent and total disability means that an individual has some physical or mental impairment, disease, or loss, from which recovery or marked improvement cannot be expected, and which substantially precludes him from engaging in useful occupation within the range of his mental capacity and educational skill.
The term “disability” encompasses one or more organic or functional impairments that interfere with the individual's faculties, such as senses, reasoning, mobility, and the like. These impairments may be physical or mental. They may exist from birth, be acquired during the lifetime of an individual, or result from accident. They may be obvious or they may be such that they can be revealed only by medical examination. They may be static or progressive. They may exist singly or in combination.
“Permanently” refers to the duration of the impairment or combination of impairments. A conditon of permanent disability is deemed to exist when a medical report and social history are available showing a physical or mental impairment, disease or loss, verifiable by medical findings, which is not likely to improve or which will continue throughout the lifetime of the individual.
The term “permanent” is to be defined, however, in a practical manner rather than in an absolute sense. It is not to be used necessarily in the sense of “everlasting” or “unchangeable” but in the sense of “continuing” rather than “temporary” or “transient”. It does not rule out the possibility of improvement, rehabilitation or even recovery from the impairment. Individuals sometimes will respond favorably to treatment after an unfavorable prognosis or after the condition becomes arrested. The discovery of new drugs or other advances in medical treatment is always a potential which may change a “permanent” situation.
Any condition considered by the Medical Review Team as not likely to respond to any known therapeutic procedures shall be deemed to be permanent. Furthermore, any condition considered as likely to remain static or to become worse, unless therapeutic measures are carried out, shall be deemed to be “permanent” so long as treatment is unavailable, inadvisable, impractical, or the individual reasonably refuses treatment. An impairment, such as injury or illness, however, from which complete recovery can be expected in a period of less than nine to twelve months cannot be considered to fall within the interpretation of permanent disability.
“Totally” is related to the degree of disability. A condition of “total disability” is deemed to exist when medical report and social history are available showing a major impairment resulting in limitation of function which substantially precludes the individual from engaging in useful occupation within his physical and mental competence.
“Totally”, therefore, as “permanently” is not defined here as an absolute term. The impairment must be of major importance, but it is to be considered in relation to the person's ability to get along in his life's situation in the light of this impairment.
As functioning members of society, adults ordinarily are expected to take care of themselves and their families. For some people this means engaging in gainful employment. For others, it means the maintenance of a home and caring for children. In order to function in such roles, an individual must be able to perform a variety of activities. The individual's capacity for functioning as a normal adult will be determined by relating the activities, which he can actually carry out, to the activities necessary for an employed person, homemaker, or a person responsible for his own personal care.
The definition is intended to exclude any individual who is able to carry on a substantial amount of activity, such as that required of a person keeping house for himself and others, or a person who is even partially employable. It is not intended to exclude the individual who can perform minor activities which are primarily of therapeutic value for him, but which may possibly provide some small irregular earnings. Neither is it intended to exclude the person who can manage only the minimum of activities necessary to living alone and caring for himself.