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Question:

From, Holly Michigan, USA:

My son-in-law, who has become blind due to type 1 diabetes, needs financial help to support his family. His doctors won't file a "totally blind" statement, so they say he's not eligible for Social Security, and he can't apply for unemployment because he cannot actively seek work because he can't see to drive or do any kind of "normal" work. The family needs help.

Answer:

I understand your son-in-law is blind from type 1 diabetes, and that the doctor will not sign a statement saying so. First, any doctor should be willing to certify that someone is blind. I would find a different doctor, and he/she should be willing to sign the letter stating "Mr. --- is blind," and cannot read print."Legally blind" doesn't mean "can't see anything," but is a legal standard, saying a person's vision is worse than a certain figure.

This letter should enable your son in law to apply for SSDI (Social Security Disability Insurance) through his local Social Security office. This will entitle him to a monthly tax-free check from the SS office, and will also allow him to receive Medicare benefits, which pay for most health needs like doctor visits, hospital visits, etc. The check will probably be prorated, but there may be a two to three year waiting period before he receives it.

Our Diabetes Action Network publishes the quarterly VOICE OF THE DIABETIC (circulation now 305,000+). In the next issue (July 1, Vol 17 #3), there will be an article detailing options for obtaining free or low cost diabetes medications and supplies. We offer the VOICE free upon request in standard print, audiocassette, or on our website.

EB

Additional comments from Craig Broadhurst:

My suggestion is your local Lion's Club. They do a lot of good for visually impaired folks in my area.

CMB

Additional comments from David S. Holtzman, Esq.:

The definition of blindness for determination of Social Security Disability is established by regulation. If your relative fits within that definition then he is entitled to benefits. My advice, find another doctor.

DSH

Additional comments from Dr. Donough O'Brien:

I talked to our social worker, and her advice was to appeal the Social Security ruling. She said that the family might have to do this more than once.

DOB

DTQ-20020415115941
Original posting 30 Apr 2002
Posted to Community Resources

  
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Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:09:34
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