New York State Blind Annuity Program
The Blind Annuity Program benefit is for legally blind wartime Veterans, or surviving un-remarried spouses of legally blind wartime Veterans, who live and are domiciled in New York State. Blindness need not be a service-connected disability.
A qualifying Veteran must be a New York State resident and domiciliary who is determined to be legally blind (20/200 vision in the better eye with best correction, or has 20- degree limitation of field of vision), and who served on active duty during specific wartime periods or received an expeditionary medal for certain conflicts. Generally, the Veteran must have served at least 90 days active duty for other than training purposes. However, fewer than 90 days active duty is acceptable if the Veteran was discharged for a service-connected disability.
To demonstrate New York State residency, a Veteran or un-remarried surviving spouse of a Veteran must submit a copy (no original needed) of one authoritative document showing proof of residency in New York.
Acceptable documents include: a New York State driver’s license or non-driver ID card; a voter registration notification card; a current utility bill (such as water, electricity, trash collection, cable TV, etc.) listing the applicant’s name and address; a proof of your current mortgage; a residential lease issued within one year of the current date; a property tax or school tax bill or receipt for the current year; an assisted-living facility or nursing home statement; a federal or New York State income tax W-2 form; a federal or New York State income tax or earning statement; or any other official document showing your current status as a New York State resident.
If a Veteran met all the criteria for the Blind Annuity benefit, but never actually received the benefit during his or her lifetime, the un-remarried surviving spouse of that Veteran may still be eligible to receive the benefit.
To apply, download and fill out a Blind Annuity Application (please be sure to include Veteran's military discharge paperwork), and mail the completed application to the Division of Veterans’ Affairs (address is listed on the application form):
In addition, you must fill out and return to the same address the Report of Legal Blindness (available at this link: http://ocfs.ny.gov/main/Forms/CBVH/OCFS-4599%20Report%20of%20Legal%20Blindness-Request%20for%20information.html).
If you wish to have the monthly payments deposited directly in your bank account rather than having the checks mailed to you, you must complete and return a Direct Deposit form (available at this link: http://www.osc.state.ny.us/epay/ac3243s_fe.pdf).
If you would like to learn more about the benefits and services you may be eligible for as a Veteran, servicemember, or as a family member of a Veteran or servicemember, please call the New York State Division of Veterans’ Affairs Help Line at 1.888.838.7697 (VETSNYS), where you may also schedule an appointment with one of our Veterans Benefits Advisors.