Long Term Disability for Blindness or Vision Impairment - Diamond and Diamond Lawyers
  • Friday, 09 August 2019

Long Term Disability for Blindness or Vision Impairment

Benefits are essential for persons with disabilities. They provide much-needed assistance to help improve people’s quality of life. Seventy-three percent of Canadians with disabilities report encountering accessibility barriers.

Unfortunately, getting disability benefits for visual disorders in Ontario may be 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 can still 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. This includes the help of contact lenses 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, you won’t likely be considered disabled if you are only blind in one eye.

The Common Causes of Vision Loss

Vision loss is the partial or complete loss of vision. Accidents, eye diseases, or age-related issues are common causes of vision impairment that may lead to blindness. Depending on the cause, sight loss could occur instantly or over time. 

Here are some of the most common causes of sudden vision loss:

  • Conjunctivitis or pinkeye
  • Keratitis or inflammation of the cornea
  • Migraine
  • Eye strain
  • Corneal abrasion or injury

Gradual vision loss usually occurs due to the following eye diseases:

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 who 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. However, what an insurance company considers a disability when it comes to vision will vary. 

If your blindness inhibits your ability to work, you may qualify to get monthly benefits 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 eye exam to determine your best possible corrected vision.

Functional Assessment for Visual Impairment

Some may not qualify for long-term disability benefits. Meeting the stringent requirements of having severe visual impairment can be difficult.

Still, 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 accommodations or adjustments 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 accommodations from your employer, contact the team at Diamond & Diamond to learn how we can help.

Get More Legal Advice for Your Vision Loss Today

Maintaining good eye health is essential, as vision is often essential to navigating our daily lives. Still, despite consistent eye care, vision loss can be inevitable for many people for various reasons. 

If you are suffering from vision loss or a severe visual impairment, you may qualify for disability benefits and other accommodations. A disability lawyer from Diamond Law could help you get the benefits you rightfully deserve.

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