Federal budgetary costs of blindness

Milbank Q. 1992;70(2):319-40.


Federal expenditures for blindness-related disability among Americans are examined. The government, rather than the private sector, frequently bears the economic consequences of visual disability through entitlement and public assistance programs. Findings suggest an average $11,896 federal cost of a person-year of blindness for a working-aged American, which includes income assistance programs (SSDI/SSI), health insurance programs (Medicare/Medicaid), and tax losses resulting from reduced potential earnings. Almost 97 percent of the aggregate annual federal costs of blindness in 1990, which totaled approximately $4 billion, is accounted for by working-aged adults, who represent less than one-third of the total blind population. Approximately 25 percent of all blindness is attributed to preventable causes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Blindness / economics*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Financing, Government*
  • Health Expenditures*
  • Humans
  • Income
  • Medicaid
  • Medicare
  • Middle Aged
  • Social Security
  • United States