Blind Pension Manual

0505.025.00 Vision

IM-147 December 22, 2022; IM-62 December 2, 2014

RSMo 209.040 defines a blind person as one ‘who does not have vision, with or without proper adjusted glasses, up to but not including 5/200, or whose best visual field is 5 degrees as tested with 5 millimeter target or perimeter’. 

In regard to the method of determining blindness, no application may be approved until the applicant has been examined by an ophthalmologist, a physician skilled in diseases of the eye, or an optometrist, designated or approved by the Family Support Division (FSD) to make such examinations. The examining ophthalmologist or optometrist must use forms provided by FSD to certify in writing the findings of the examination. The examination shall be provided for by FSD without charge to the applicant, and shall be paid as an administrative expense.

Re-examinations are required no less than every fifth year after the initial determination, unless the individual has been deemed to have no usable vision and the individual’s vision loss is permanent, or is medically unlikely to return or improve.

Proceed with determination of other eligibility factors while waiting for the decision on visual eligibility.

NOTE: House Bill 1835 (2014) removed the requirement for re-examination every fifth year for some individuals.  Persons who have been deemed by an ophthalmologist, physician skilled in disease of the eye, or an optometrist to have no usable vision shall be exempt from the five-year requirement.  “No usable vision” shall mean an individual who does not have vision, with or without proper adjusted glasses, up to but not including 5/200, or whose best visual field is 5 degrees as tested with 5 millimeter target or perimeter, and the individual’s vision loss at this level is permanent, or is medically unlikely to return or improve.

For additional information about vision eligibility, refer to the December 1973 Eligibility Requirements Manual, Section 1055.005.00 (AB Eligibility Criteria).