Tips on Applying for Disability with Hearing Loss
When it comes to applying for Social Security Disability benefits, it is important to understand who qualifies for benefits, how to qualify, and how to improve your chances of being approved for benefits during the initial application process. The following tips will help you to better understand the SSA’s disability programs and how to qualify for Social Security Disability benefits due to a loss of hearing.
Tip #1: Be Sure to Understand Who Qualifies for Social Security Disability Benefits
According to the SSA, an individual is deemed to be disabled if their condition prevents them performing the work that they did before, the SSA determines that the applicant cannot adjust to other types of work due to their condition, and the disability is expected to last for at least 12 months or result in death. In addition to meeting these guidelines, however, you must be able to prove to the SSA that you meet the requirements of a condition that has been included in the SSA’s blue book.
Tip #2: Be Sure to Understand How to Medically Qualify for Benefits Due to Hearing Loss
When you apply for Social Security Disability benefits, the SSA will compare your condition to a listing of conditions known as the SSA’s Blue Book. The Blue Book contains all of the conditions that could qualify an individual for Social Security Disability benefits, along with the criteria that must be met in order to qualify under each Blue Book listing. In order to qualify for disability benefits due to hearing loss, you must be able to prove that you meet the criteria established in either Section 2.10 or 2.11 of the Blue Book.
Section 2.10 of the Blue Book addresses hearing loss that is not treated with cochlear implantation. According to this section of the Blue Book, in order to qualify for disability benefits you must be able to prove that:
- Your average air conduction hearing threshold is 90 decibels or greater in the better ear and your average bone conduction threshold is 60 decibels or greater in the better ear; or
- Your word recognition score is 40 percent or less in the better ear using a standardized list of phonetically-balanced monosyllabic words.
Section 2.11 of the Blue Book addresses hearing loss that has been treated with cochlear implantation. According to this section of the Blue Book, you will be determined to be disabled:
- For a period of one year after the initial implantation; or
- If more than one year has passed since initial implantation and your word recognition score is still 60 percent or less.
More information on qualifying with hearing loss: http://www.disability-benefits-help.org/disabling-conditions/hearing-loss-and-social-security-disability
Tip #3: Understand How to Gather the Medical Evidence You Will Need
When submitting an application for Social Security Disability benefits, you will also want to submit medical evidence that supports your disability claim. Because of this, you should gather medical records and hearing test results that prove that you meet the above-mentioned Blue Book criteria. If you have not yet undergone a hearing test that can provide you with this evidence, you will want to schedule a test in order to obtain the medical evidence that will be needed in order for the SSA to approve your disability claim.
Tip #4: Understand How to Financially Qualify for Social Security Disability Benefits
The SSA has two different disability programs: SSDI and SSI.
In order to qualify for SSDI you must have worked at a job at which you paid FICA taxes for 5 out of the last 10 years. SSI benefits on the other hand are a needs based that does not take your work history into account. As of 2013 to qualify for SSI, you must earn no more than $760 per month as an individual or $1,060 per month as a couple in order to qualify for SSI benefits. In addition, your household assets must not exceed $2,000 as an individual or $3,000 as a couple.
You can learn more about SSDI and SSI here: http://www.ssa.gov/disability/
Tip #5: Understand the Social Security Disability Application Process
You can apply for benefits either online (http://www.ssa.gov/pgm/disability.htm) or at your local SSA office. When applying for Social Security Disability benefits, you will be asked to fill out a number of forms. It is important that you fill out these forms in detail and provide thorough answers so that the SSA can understand how your disability prevents you from maintaining gainful employment. You may also be asked to attend a medical evaluation during the application process. It is important to understand that the purpose of this appointment is to assess the extent of your disability and not to provide treatment. It will take approximately three to six months from the date of your application to receive notice of the SSA’s decision regarding your Social Security Disability claim.
Tip #6: Understand What to Do in the Case of a Denial
If you are denied benefits, you have 60 days from the date of the denial notice to appeal the SSA’s decision to deny your claim. If you must pursue an appeal, you may wish to retain the services of a Social Security Disability lawyer. Statistics have proven that applicants who pursue an appeal with the assistance of a disability attorney are more likely to be awarded benefits than applicants who pursue the appeal process on their own.
Article by Ram Meyyappan
Social Security Disability Help