TN 2 (12-14)
DI 26001.001 Statutory Blindness – Title II and Title XVI
Social Security Act, Sections 216(i) &1614 (a) (2)
CFR 404.1505, 404.1581, 416.981, 416.982, 416.906, 416.925, 404,1582, 404,1583, 404.1584, 404,1513, 416.913(f) 416.984
A. Definition of blindness
Sections 216(i)(1) and 1614(a)(2) of the Social Security Act (Act) define blindness as central visual acuity of 20/200 or less in the better eye with the use of a correcting lens. We use the best-corrected visual acuity for distance in the better eye to determine if the claimant meets this definition.
The Act also provides that we consider an eye that has a visual field limitation such that the widest diameter of the visual field subtends an angle no greater than 20 degrees as having a central visual acuity of 20/200 or less.
This statutory definition of blindness is in the Listing of Impairments (listings).
B. Meeting a listing for statutory blindness
A claimant has statutory blindness only if the visual disorder meets the criteria of listings:
2.02 or 2.03A for adults, or
102.02A, 102.02B, or 102.03A for children.
A claimant does not have statutory blindness if the visual disorder:
medically equals the criteria of listings 2.02, 2.03A, 102.02A, 102.02B, or 102.03A; or
meets or medically equals the criteria of 2.03B, 2.03C, 2.04A, 2.04B, 102.03B, 102.03C, 102.04A, or 102.04B.
C. Statutory blindness due to a combination of loss of visual acuity and visual field restriction
The combination of the loss of visual acuity in one eye and contraction of the visual field in the other eye may meet the statutory definition of blindness:
If a claimant’s best-corrected visual acuity is 20/200 or less in one eye, and the widest diameter of the visual field in the other eye subtends an angle around the point of fixation no greater than 20 degrees, the visual disorder meets the statutory definition of blindness and meets a listing.
In this situation, cite the listings appropriate for the limitation in the better eye, that is, listings 2.02 or 2.03A for adults, or listings 102.02A, 102.02B, or 102.03A for children.
NOTE: If you cannot determine which eye is the better eye, cite listing 2.02 for adults or listings 102.02A or 102.02B for children.
D. Visual disorders that do not meet the listings for blindness
If a visual disorder does not meet the listings for statutory blindness, consider if the disorder:
equals the blindness listings (see DI 26001.001B in this section), or
meets or medically equals other listings.
If the visual disorder does not meet or medically equal a listing, consider the effects of the visual disorder on the claimant’s ability to function, unless the determination is for statutory blindness only.
If the determination is for statutory blindness only, and the visual disorder does not meet the listings for statutory blindness, the disability determination services will deny the claim. See Jurisdiction of Blindness Cases in DI 26001.015.
E. Related references