Important: We updated this article in December 2022 with the latest SSA policy data. Meniere’s disease is severe vertigo that happens at any age. Anyone who develops this issue can tell you how hard it is to function at work. It can cause spinning episodes and fluctuating hearing loss. Most often, Meniere’s disease leads to progressive, ultimately permanent hearing loss and ringing in your ears. This chronic condition is unpleasant and frustrating for patients. And while various treatments can help relieve symptoms, no cure currently exists. As a result, Meniere’s disease often forces sufferers to stop working. If that describes you, apply for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits.
How Can You Qualify For Disability Benefits With Meniere’s Disease?
Vertigo’s unpredictable nature makes working full-time difficult (if not impossible). You might suffer permanent hearing loss along with fatigue, emotional distress, depression and anxiety. Vertigo can also make you feel nauseated or lose your balance. This increases your risk for workplace falls and accidents. Driving or operating heavy machinery also becomes much more difficult with Meniere’s disease. Your doctor likely told you those jobs are too dangerous for people who experience long bouts of vertigo.
The Social Security Administration (SSA) categorizes Meniere’s disease under Blue Book listing 2.07. Because the disease can affect each person differently, you must meet the following qualifications for disability benefits:
- Disturbed function of vestibular labyrinth demonstrated by caloric or other vestibular tests; and
- Hearing loss established through an audiometry test.
How Meniere’s Disease Symptoms May Limit Your Ability to Work
Your Meniere’s disease symptoms must also make you unable to work for at least 12 months in a row. If your vertigo and hearing loss are severe, they may impact your ability to:
- See, hear, and speak like you normally do
- Walk, stand, or lift objects (or do other physical activities required for your job) without getting dizzy and falling down
- Understand and carry out simple verbal instructions
- Work well with your supervisor, co-workers and members of the public who must speak out loud to communicate with you
Not sure you can prove these things are happening to you at work and/or at home? We strongly recommend you start keeping a symptom diary now. This can show the SSA exactly how your Meniere’s disease symptoms impact your daily living activities.
Other Requirements You Must Meet for Disability Benefits
There are a few more requirements to meet before you’ll qualify for SSD benefits. First, the SSA will determine if you’re engaging in “substantial gainful activity.” That just means you earn more than $1,470/month in 2023, even if it’s passive income. But if you get some money below that amount each month (i.e., child support or alimony payments), you may still qualify.
Secondly, the SSA will also review what jobs you did in the past. If you can still hold some kind of job, they’ll reject your SSD application. But if you cannot perform past tasks, the SSA will try to find another job that fits your new limitations. If none exists, the SSA may approve your benefits.
Finally, here’s one last thing to consider: The SSA won’t award you disability if you already get some Social Security benefits. This is because your cannot draw retirement benefits and disability at the same time from Social Security. So before you consider drawing early retirement, be sure to apply for disability first! If approved for SSDI, you’ll get your full Social Security pay amount vs. reduced benefits for life from early retirement.
Related: Social Security Disability Benefits for Colon Cancer
You May Qualify for Free Legal Assistance
Qualifying for SSDI is difficult for most first-time applicants. An experienced disability attorney can help expedite the process and triple your odds of benefit approval. What’s more, these attorneys work on contingency. That means if the SSA won’t award you benefits, then you pay $0 for legal assistance. And if you do win, then you’ll only pay a small, one-time fee. Click the button below to start your free, no-obligation evaluation online now:
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Mandy Voisin is a freelance writer, blogger, and author of Girls of the Ocean and Star of Deliverance. As an accomplished content marketing consultant, mom of four and doctor's wife, Mandy has written hundreds of articles about dangerous drugs and medical devices, medical issues that impact disabled Americans, veterans' healthcare and workers' compensation issues since 2016.