If you are an Indiana resident suffering from a loss of hearing and can’t do your job because of it, you can apply for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits.
Hearing loss doesn’t qualify you automatically for disability, but your doctor or a hearing clinic can conduct tests to help prove your level of disability.
The Social Security Administration (SSA) uses what is called the Blue Book to determine eligibility for benefits, and the level of hearing loss is outlined in the book. So just what does the Blue Book say about hearing loss?
It addresses scenarios for patients whose hearing loss is treated by cochlear implants and for those who don’t have the implants.
For people without implants, the Blue Book states you must have an average air conduction threshold of 90 decibels or higher in the better ear – or an average bone conduction hearing threshold of 60 decibels or greater in the same ear. Also a qualifier is a word recognition score of 40 percent or less in that ear, which is determined through a test that uses a standardized list of words.
For people with cochlear implants, the implantation represents a disability for one year following the surgery. Beyond that point, you can continue to receive benefits if your word recognition score is 60 percent or less on the Hearing in Noise Test.
You will not qualify for benefits if you are deaf in one ear, since your hearing loss is determined by using your best ear. In addition, if your employer can accommodate your hearing loss in some way and you still earn more than $1,190 per month, then you won’t qualify for benefits.
Sound confusing? It is. That’s why an Indiana lawyer who handles disability cases can be a valuable member of your team as you and your doctor navigate the disability application process.