• Friday, 09 August 2019

Long Term Disability for Blindness or Vision Impairment

Young Woman Helping Blind Man With White Stick While Crossing Road

Unfortunately, getting disability benefits for visual disorders in Ontario may end up being harder than you might think. Benefit providers often do not realize or appreciate the seriousness of a vision disorder. Instead, they sometimes do not think of them as true medical conditions. However, if you have total blindness or meet the definition of being legally blind, then getting long term disability benefits is much more likely.

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 (20 feet) in front of them. Normal vision allows you to see about 60 meters (200 feet) 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 (peripheral vision).

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.

Getting Disability Benefits for Vision Impairment

Being visually impaired means that you have less than 20/20 vision. In fact, many people have some form of visual impairment, even if it is slight. However, only those are actually or legally blind in Canada will be able to get benefits for their impairment in most circumstances.

Long term disability benefits are available for vision impairment, but what an insurance company considers a disability when it comes to vision will vary. If your blindness inhibits your ability to work, then you may qualify to get monthly benefit amounts from your insurance company.

You must be able to document that you have a severe vision impairment. Usually, this is done by taking a vision loss test. Your doctor will be able to give you this type of exam to determine your best possible corrected vision.

Functional Assessment for Visual Impairment

The functional limitations of your vision are important to request accommodations from your employer, even if you do not meet the stringent requirements of having a severe visual impairment to qualify for long term disability benefits. Anyone who has the following conditions may be able to request accommodations from their employer.

  • Inability to process written material for any reason (not including using touch or sound)
  • Partially sighted individuals (low vision)
  • Those with eye conditions, such as cataracts, Macular Degeneration, or glaucoma
  • Loss of both sight and hearing
  • Colour blindness or similar disability
  • Only having vision in one eye

You should be able to work with your employer to help you create an environment in which you can work with an accommodation or adjustment in your work tasks or activities.

If you think you or a loved one may qualify for long term disability for blindness or you would like help requesting an accommodation from your employer, contact the team at Diamond & Diamond to learn how we can help.

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