About 48 million people in the U.S. suffer from some type of significant hearing loss. Of people over age 65, about 1 out of 3 individuals are hard of hearing. The condition could be temporary or permanent, treatable, or untreatable. For some people, being hard of hearing goes beyond having to turn the television volume up or asking people to repeat what they’ve said. Hearing loss may qualify for disability benefits.
Disability, In General
To qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits, a medical condition needs to meet the Social Security Administration (SSA) definition of disability:
“The law defines disability as the inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity (SGA) by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment(s) which can be expected to result in death, or which has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months.”
For hearing loss to meet that definition, it must limit the individual’s ability to work and be expected to last for at least a year.
Qualifying for SSDI
An individual who is hard of hearing must also meet SSA guidelines to qualify for benefits, including:
- Suffering from a disability that prevents or restricts them from working; and
- Accumulate the appropriate number of work credits.
If someone with hearing loss is still able to work, it’s unlikely he or she will qualify for SSDI benefits.
If You Are Hard of Hearing, Can You Qualify for Disability Benefits?
Yes, if you meet all of the SSA’s requirements. After applying, it’s likely you will have to speak with the SSA caseworker who is reviewing your application. The SSA will determine if your hearing loss is disabling and whether you have enough recent work credits.
A Social Security Disability Insurance case may take as long as 32 months if a reconsideration and appeal are needed. You may need to look into other assistance programs until you reach an SSDI decision.
For a free consultation with an experience Social Security attorney, consult with an attorney at The Law Offices of Martin Taller. Call us at 714-385-8100. We assist clients through Southern California from our home office in Anaheim.