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Special Senses/Speech Disability and Social Security Disability

The Social Security’s Blue Book of qualifying conditions has a special senses listing that includes hearing, vision, and speech disabilities. Vertigo is also included in this special senses disabilities section since hearing impairments often cause vertigo. When someone cannot see, hear or speak well enough to remain gainfully employed, or if a child needs financial assistance to receive special education services, they may be eligible for Social Security disability benefits.

Special Senses Disability

What Other Conditions Are Considered by the SSA Under the Special Senses Section?

In addition to speech loss, vision disorders, and speech disability, the Blue Book also lists auditory processing disorder, macular degeneration (an eye disease leading to blindness), Meniere’s disease (an inner ear disorder causing severe dizziness and pain), and retinitis pigmentosa (a type of retinal cancer). Any one of these conditions may promote a sense disability that qualifies for Social Security disability. Contact the disability attorneys at the Law Office of Daniel Berger today for assistance being approved for special senses disabilities benefits.

What Tests Are Necessary to Prove a Hearing Impairment?

The SSA expects people applying for hearing loss disability to provide documentation of one or more of the following:

  • Physical examination of the inner ear to detect any structural abnormalities.
  • Tuning fork test: A tuning fork vibrates with different tones and pitches when struck lightly. This test helps doctors determine where damage may have occurred within the inner ear.
  • Audiologist-conducted tests: patients will sit in a soundproof cubicle and wear earphones while an audiologist sends a series of beeps to each ear and then to both ears. Some tones are barely audible while others are high pitched or low pitched.

What Does the SSA Consider a Speech Loss Disability?

Generally, if a person applying for speech loss disability cannot speak or is unable to speak well enough to be understood, they are considered disabled. However, speech loss attributed to neurological conditions is listed under “neurological disorders” in the SSA’s Blue Book. When speech loss is caused by physical impairments involving the tongue, larynx, lips or jaws, Social Security will consider the possibility that speech-enabling equipment could restore speech abilities well enough for an applicant to obtain gainful employment.

What Type of Vision Disorders Qualify for Social Security Disability?

Legally blind individuals (20/200 or less) will have no trouble being approved for special senses disability by the SSA. If your vision parameters are better than 20/200, the SSA considers the limitations of vision disorders, such as acuity and vision field impairment.

For the most part, the SSA looks at how well your “good eye” can see if you are not completely blind in both eyes. If vision is better in one eye than the other, you may still qualify for Social Security disability under the “statutory blindness” listing in the Blue Book.

Unless someone is totally blind, deaf, or cannot speak, it can be difficult to get approved for special senses disabilities benefits. Avoid denials and lengthy appeals by talking to a disability attorney at the Law Office of Daniel Berger today for help in getting approved as soon as possible.

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