DISABILITY BENEFITS FOR HEARING LOSS
Disability benefits are obtainable for hearing loss. The SSA disability insurance program offers two types of benefits, Social Security Disability Insurance benefits (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. SSDI benefits are awarded if a person is disabled and unable to work. One must work first, in order to be eligible for SSDI benefits. SSI benefits are for individuals who are disabled and cannot work. Or, they may not have earned enough work quarters to be eligible for SSDI benefits. SSI benefits are also available for children. In order to be eligible for SSI benefits, you must meet the income and asset restrictions set by the government.
Many people who have hearing loss qualify for disability benefits. However, many people who have hearing loss are also able to work. Hearing loss is no longer considered an automatic bar to being able to obtain a job. Due to scientific advancement, there are tools for the hearing impaired that can help in school and the workplace.
DISABILITY BENEFITS FOR ADULT HEARING LOSS
For adults, the medical listing for hearing loss is found under Listing 2.00: Special Senses And Speech. To qualify for hearing loss without cochlear implants, an adult, must meet one of two tests.
- Air and bone conduction audiometry. Your average threshold for air conduction in your better ear must be 90 decibels or worse and your bone conduction hearing threshold in the same ear has to be 60 decibels or more OR
- Word recognition. You must not be able to repeat more than 40% of words spoken using a phonetically balanced list of words.
If you, as an adult, have cochlear implants, you will automatically found disabled and receive benefits for one year after the surgery. After one year, the SSA will extend disability benefits if your word recognition score on a “Hearing in Noise Test” (HINT) is 60% or less.
DISABILITY BENEFITS FOR CHILDREN
For children, the medical listing for hearing loss and who do not have a cochlear implant, is Listing 102.10. Under this listing, children aged 5 and younger must have an air conduction hearing test. The result of the test must show an average threshold of 50 decibels or higher in the better ear. Additionally, children aged 5 and older must have one of the following:
- an air conduction hearing test with an average threshold of 70 decibels or higher in the better ear and a bone conduction hearing test with an average threshold of 40 decibels or higher in the better ear
- a word recognition test with a value of 40% or lower in the best ear, or
- an air conduction hearing test with an average threshold of 50 decibels or higher in the better ear and a marked limitation in the child’s speech or language. See 102.00B2c–102.00B2f.
HEARING LOSS AND COCHLEAR IMPLANTS
Listing 102.11 is for children who have hearing loss but have a cochlear implant (a device that sends signals through the auditory nerve to the brain). The SSA will find a child with a cochlear implant eligible for disability benefits for one year after implantation. Also, any child under the age of five with a cochlear implant will be found disabled. If a child over five years old has a cochlear implant for a year, the SSA will find they have a disability if they have a word recognition test with a value of 60% or lower. The SSA uses the Hearing in Noise Test (HINT) or the Hearing in Noise Test for Children (HINT-C) to evaluate word recognition. See 102.00B3b.
CONTACT CANNON DISABILITY LAW FOR HELP WITH YOUR DISABILITY CLAIM
At Cannon Disability, we work as a team with our clients to win their disability claim. Proving disability can be complex. For example, even if your doctor states you need benefits, you will need to submit medical test results to the SSA. You need to know what those tests are.
We have the experience you need to help you submit the proper medical records to the SSA. No matter where you live, we can help you, because we have clients throughout the West, including Utah, Nevada, Idaho, and California.
Dianna Cannon has been practicing disability law for over 30 years. Brett Bunkall has won hundreds of cases in Utah, Nevada, Idaho, and California. Andria Summers has over 20 years of experience helping thousands of claimants win disability benefits. Our attorneys understand the law and we have helped thousands of people who cannot work, win benefits. If you cannot work because of a disability, then contact us today and hire our disability team. We have the experience you need on your side.