SSDI benefits are there for people with disabilities who no longer have the ability to perform work in order to survive. SSDI, also known as Social Security Disability Insurance, is an important safety net in the United States, but many don’t know if they qualify or how to qualify to properly utilize the program. Many disabilities fit within the scope of SSDI benefits, but does deafness qualify you for SSDI benefits? It can, and Tabak Law is here to tell you exactly how you might qualify.
Read More: How Does a Disability Lawyer Get Paid?
How Does Hearing Loss Qualify You For SSDI Benefits?
There are three common hearing-loss situations covered by SSDI programs. Two of them cover general hearing loss while a third covers disturbances in the ear that not only cause hearing loss but can also cause other symptoms including vertigo. We go into all three situations below.
Hearing Loss Without a Cochlear Implantation
There are two general tests applied to those who have hearing loss without a cochlear implant. The only scores that will generally be reviewed are scores from tests on the better ear. The first test is an air and bone conduction test. If the air conduction test yields a threshold of 90 decibels or greater and the bone conduction test yields a result of 60 decibels or great then you will qualify.
The other test that could qualify you for SSDI benefits is a word recognition test using a standardized list of phonetically balanced monosyllabic words. If you score 40% or less then you qualify for SSDI benefits. Results from either the word recognition test or the conduction tests can be used to prove disability.
Hearing Loss With a Cochlear Implantation
If you have received a cochlear implant, and the implantation was successful, then you are considered to have a disability for 1 year after implantation. After that year, if you receive a word recognition score of 60% or less, this time using the Hearing in Noise Test (often referred to as the HINT) then you will still qualify for SSDI benefits.
Disturbance of Labyrinthine-vestibular Function
This one is a little harder to pronounce but it includes Ménière’s disease and is often characterized by symptoms of vertigo including attacks of balance disturbance, and can include tinnitus as well as progressive loss of hearing. In this case, you need to prove that you have a disturbance of labyrinthine-vestibular function with caloric or other vestibular tests and there also needs to be hearing loss that has been established by audiometry.
What Happens if You Were Deaf Since Birth?
If you have been deaf since birth, and because of that disability you have no work history, then you do not qualify for SSDI benefits. This is because SSDI benefits are based on work history. However, you should qualify for the Supplemental Security Income program or SSI which is a needs-based program. The medical requirements for SSI are the same as SSDI, but that is the only thing that the two programs have in common. If you need help with your SSDI case, consult the law offices of Tabak Law today!
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