Long Beach Attorneys Discuss
Social Security Disability for the Hearing Impaired
Overall, hearing loss affects approximately 20% of people in the United States. This means that more than 48 million Americans suffer from at least partial deafness to some degree. And as a person ages, the likelihood of hearing loss increase – with one out of three people over age 65 experiencing some hearing loss.
However, many people do not realize that hearing loss or deafness may qualify them to collect Social Security Disability benefits. Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits are available for individuals with “profound” hearing loss or deafness, but not available for people experiencing “moderate or mild” hearing loss.
How to Qualify for Social Security Disability with Hearing Loss
There are actually two ways to qualify for Social Security Disability, due to a hearing loss or deafness:
- “Automatically” – by meeting the Blue Book Disability Listing for hearing loss; or
- “Functional Capacity” – proving that there are no jobs you can perform with your amount of hearing loss
(1.) Automatic SSD: Meeting the Disability Listing for Hearing Loss
To “automatically” qualify for SSD disability benefits for hearing loss (without cochlear implants), you must meet the requirements of at least one of the two following tests.
(a.) Audiometry Test
- Air conduction average hearing threshold must be 90 decibels (dB) or worse in your better ear; and
- Bone conduction hearing threshold must be 60 decibels (dB) or worse in your better ear; and
- These tests must be calculated by averaging your hearing at 500 hertz, 1,000 hertz, and 2,000 hertz.
(b.) Word Recognition Test
- You must not be able to repeat more than 40% of a list of standardized words spoken in a “Word Recognition Test”.
Further, these tests must be completed by an otolaryngologist (ENT doctor), a licensed physician, or an audiologist working under the supervision of an ENT or physician.
Additionally, if you have cochlear implants in one or both ears, you will be “automatically” granted Social Security Disability benefits for one year after the implantation. After twelve months, your disability benefits will continue to be extended for as long as your word recognition is 60% or less.
(2.) Functional Capacity SSD: Prove Deafness Keeps you from Working
If your hearing loss does not meet the Blue Book disability listing for profound hearing loss, you may still be able to collect Social Security Disability if you can show that there are no jobs you can perform with your amount of hearing loss. Remember, this does NOT mean that you simply cannot perform your previous line of work. It means that there are NO jobs in the general economy that you can perform because of your deafness.
The SSA will look at factors such as how your hearing loss affects your ability to communicate, converse with co-workers or customers, hear commands, follow instructions, etc.
Social Security Disability Attorneys for Hearing Loss
If you are considering applying for Social Security Disability because of hearing loss or deafness – and you KNOW that you will meet one or both of the Blue Book criteria listed above – your SSD should be “automatically” approved.
However, if you have not been tested by an otolaryngologist (ENT doctor) according to the Social Security “Blue Book” requirements applying for SSD will be more difficult. Additionally, if you have been tested by an ENT and not meet the “automatic” criteria, you will face an even greater degree of difficulty proving your case.
Our experienced and caring Long Beach Social Security Disability attorneys have obtained millions of dollars in SSD benefits for disabled and deaf or hearing impaired workers. We know how the Social Security system works, how to successfully prove your hearing loss, and how obtain the maximum Workers Compensation for which you qualify.
If you are experiencing hearing loss which may qualify you for Social Security Disability – or if you have applied and been denied SSD for hearing loss – call our experienced Long Beach attorney today. We will answer your questions, and help you obtain the benefits for which you qualify.
Long Beach Social Security Attorneys for the Hearing Impaired: 562-622-4800