a. If the claimant alleges or shows evidence of a visual disorder, we do not need
a blindness determination if:
we can make a favorable determination based on a nonblind impairment(s); and
we can reasonably determine that the visual disorder did not meet the statutory definition
of blindness prior to the onset date of disability.
In this situation, a regular determination of disability is sufficient. A finding
of statutory blindness provides no additional payment or freeze benefits unless the
onset of blindness is before the onset of nonblind disability.
The claimant applied for DIB on November 10, 2013. He alleged disability as of January
15, 2013, when he stopped working due to emphysema, diabetes, and increasingly poor
Medical evidence shows that his respiratory impairment meets listing 3.02 for chronic
obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) since the alleged onset date. A report from his
treating ophthalmologist indicates that he has diabetic retinopathy, and his last
examination on February 1, 2013 showed his best-corrected visual acuity was 20/80
bilaterally with normal visual fields.
In this example, current vision testing is not necessary because the claimant is disabled
due to COPD since January 15, 2013. There is no possibility of an earlier blind onset
date since the claimant was not statutorily blind when the ophthalmologist examined
him on February 1, 2013.
b. If the claimant later returns to work, the FO will conduct a work CDR. The FO will
consider the nonblind and blind SGA levels at that time. If indicated, the FO will
send the case to the DDS for a statutory blindness determination as part of the work
CDR. See DI
26001.015A.5. in this section.