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Social Security Administration (SSA) manages some of the most important federal programs and they also have the final say on who receives Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits based on a strict set of criteria. You can apply for these benefits if you are unable to perform your basic job duties due to a disability or illness.
Hearing loss and deafness fall under disabilities the SSA regularly awards benefits for, but only in cases of profound loss of hearing, and not mild or moderate loss. When you file your SSDI application, you will need to include a diagnosis from your doctor that assesses your level of hearing loss.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) counts hearing loss and deafness as disabilities. If a person was previously experiencing deafness or hearing loss, or they develop it while employed, his or her employer is legally required to provide reasonable accommodations. If the person cannot perform any job duties as outlined in the job description or cannot meet the accommodations put in place by their employer, he or she may apply for SSDI.
The hearing loss must be profound or severe for you to receive benefits. The SSA measures this in two ways: by judging whether there are jobs you can perform with your limited hearing, and by measuring your case against their list of impairments. This list outlines the different medical test results that separate “profound” or “severe” hearing loss from “moderate” or “mild.”
If you do not have cochlear implants, the medical results they look for are based on two tests, administered by an otolaryngologist (ENT doctor) or a licensed audiologist.
The first test is for pure tone air conduction and bone conduction audiometry. This measures your average threshold hearing sensitivity. If you cannot hear within a certain range of sound volumes (in decibels) and frequencies (in hertz), you might be considered legally disabled.
The second test is the word recognition test. If you are unable to repeat a certain percentage of words spoken by the test-giver, your hearing loss could be considered disabling.
The loss of hearing can greatly impact your ability to earn an income. When your disability gets to be too much, call our disability benefit attorneys from Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law and get the guidance you need to be successful in your application. We offer free consultations, so give us a call or fill out an online contact form.
Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law