Is Vertigo or Dizziness Interfering With Your Ability to Work?
Inside our ears there is a complex sensory structure known as the vestibular system, which works with our brain and other body systems to maintain balance. When the vestibular system is compromised by an infection, a head injury, or disease (Ménière’s disease, for example), vestibular dysfunction can occur. The resulting symptoms like vertigo, nausea, intense dizziness, blurred vision, and disorientation can seriously interfere with your ability to work.
The Social Security Administration (SSA) recognizes vestibular dysfunction as a disability that in some cases qualifies for monthly Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. To determine if you are medically eligible for disability benefits, Social Security has a set of procedures in place. These procedures are published in a handbook known as the “Blue Book,” and it includes a list of various disabling conditions known as “listings.” The criteria for benefits approval for vestibular balance disorders (including Ménière’s disease) can be found under Listing 2.07. To meet the criteria for this listing, you must prove that your vestibular disorder is “characterized by a history of frequent attacks of balance disturbance, tinnitus, and progressive loss of hearing.” In addition, you must provide Social Security with medical evidence of both of the following:
“A. Disturbed function of vestibular labyrinth demonstrated by caloric or other vestibular tests; and
B. Hearing loss established by audiometry”
Most often, an applicant’s medical conditions will not precisely meet the Blue Book’s technical requirements to qualify for disability payments. But, there is a second way to qualify. You may be eligible for Social Security disability benefits if you can prove that, due to the limitations resulting from your conditions, you are unable to perform any job in the national economy, considering your age, education, and past work.
To qualify, you must demonstrate that the symptoms of your impairment prevent you from sustaining full-time competitive employment on a consistent and reliable basis. All qualifying disabilities must be expected to last and keep you out of work for at least 12 months.
To prove that vestibular dysfunction prevents you from maintaining full-time competitive employment, it is very important to ask your doctor to explain your medical situation, oftentimes using a form called the “Residual Functional Capacity” (RFC) form. The RFC supplements your medical records and allows your doctor to explain how your medical conditions limit you from working under SSA’s rules. The Social Security Administration will consider the RFC form along with other medical evidence to decide whether you qualify for Social Security disability benefits.
If you have other impairments in addition to vestibular dysfunction, you should also include these in your application for benefits. The SSA must take into consideration all of your impairments when deciding whether you qualify for disability benefits. For more on this subject read our blog article: Do Multiple Disabilities Improve the Odds of Receiving Benefits?
The path to winning Social Security disability benefits can be difficult to navigate, especially while living with a serious health condition like vestibular dysfunction. For this reason, it is important to have a professional Chicagoland disability attorney in your corner to help you through the process and to fight for your rights. Call or email Nash Disability Law for a free evaluation of your situation. We can help you avoid costly disability mistakes.