Indianapolis man needs a representative to help with his social security disability case

Can I Get Social Security Disability for Vision, Hearing & Speech Impairments?

If you can no longer hear, see or speak well enough to continue working, you might be wondering if Social Security recognizes your condition as an impairment that qualifies for disability benefits.

A monthly benefits check would go a long way toward putting you on more stable financial ground. And the Medicare coverage that comes with disability benefits is crucial when you’ve lost insurance through your former employer.

The key to qualifying for disability benefits is in the severity of your condition. Many people can work with mild hearing, vision or speech impairments. If your condition is severe enough to prevent you from working, you can apply for financial relief.

The disability advocates at Hanley Disability have a combined half-century of experience assisting the people of Indiana. Our office is in Indianapolis, serving people in Danville, Franklin, Lebanon, Noblesville and beyond.

We understand that you’re going through a lot. You don’t just need benefits, you need support as you go through this process.

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Hanley Disability offers a FREE evaluation of your case and will discuss your options with you. Let us make a difference in your life.

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Will Hearing Loss Qualify Me for Disability Benefits?

When you’re used to working, earning paychecks and paying taxes—but now you can’t work because of a harsh turn in your health—the type of disability benefit you probably want is called Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI).

It is, literally, insurance that you paid for with Social Security taxes. Instead of being run by an insurance company, it’s run by the government. But it’s not a handout. As long as you worked enough, you should be covered under this insurance when you must stop working for medical reasons.

The monthly income that you get from SSDI is based partly on how much you made on the job. So it’s possible you’ll get more from SSDI than other government disability benefits, which are based purely on having low financial resources.

But Social Security has tough rules to get these benefits. They’re trying to be sure no one undeserving gets approved for government-run aid. But the rules end up making it harder even for deserving people to win benefits.

Only arthritis and heart disease are more common physical health conditions than hearing loss in the United States, said the Hearing Loss Association of America. Unfortunately, it takes the average person seven years from the time they think they have hearing loss until the time they seek treatment.

Suffering from hearing loss can be hard to prove to others. That creates challenges in meeting Social Security’s standards for the severity for your condition to determine benefits eligibility.

The Social Security Administration (SSA) says it needs evidence showing that you have a medically determinable impairment that causes your hearing loss, and it wants audiometric measurements of the severity of your hearing loss.

They consider someone hearing impaired if their average ability to hear comes at a loudness of 60 to 90 decibels or greater in the better ear, depending on the testing method, and their word recognition score is 40 percent or lower in the better ear.

There are two types of tests you’ll need to measure the degree of your hearing loss:

  • An otologic examination performed by a licensed physician or audiologist. This is a report that includes your medical history, your description of how your hearing loss affects you, and the physician or audiologist’s description of the appearance of the external ears, evaluation of the tympanic membranes, and assessment of any middle ear abnormalities.
  • Audiometric testing performed by, or under the direct supervision of, a licensed audiologist or an ear nose and throat doctor.

You don’t have to face this process alone. A disability benefits representative can help you . . .

Finally, a disability advocate will give you the personal care you need during a stressful and confusing time. They’ll get to know you and your needs, and make sure you’re treated with respect.

You can talk to the disability advocates at Hanley Disability for an initial conversation about your case free of charge.

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Indianapolis women happy after qualify for disability benefits

Will Vision Loss Qualify Me for Social Security Disability?

Social Security also views vision loss in terms of severity, with separate rules for impaired vision and blindness.

Vision impairment or “low vision” means that a person’s eyesight cannot be corrected to a “normal” level.

According to the Cleveland Clinic, low vision can’t be corrected with glasses, contacts or surgery. It can include blind spots, poor night vision and blurry sight.

The most common causes are age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma and diabetes. Visual aids can help people with low vision.

Social Security will need a report from an eye examination that includes measurements of your best-corrected central visual acuity or the extent of your visual fields. If you have visual acuity or visual field loss, the disability program will need documentation of what caused it.

Blindness is defined by Social Security as central visual acuity of 20/200 or less in the better eye with the use of a correcting lens.

If you’re receiving Social Security Disability benefits and you have blindness, you are allowed to work and earn more than other disability applicants and still qualify for disability benefits.

You could earn as much as $2,260 per month as of 2022. This is higher than the earnings limit of $1,350 per month that applied to workers with disabilities who aren’t blind. The earnings limit typically goes up each year.


Will Vision Loss Qualify Me for Social Security Disability?

Loss of speech qualifies for disability under Social Security’s impairment listing for “Special Senses and Speech,” which says the person applying for disability benefits must not have the ability to produce speech, including with the use of mechanical or electronic devices that improve voice or articulation.

The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) recognizes a variety of speech disorders, including apraxia (a motor speech disorder that makes it hard to speak), dysarthria (caused by muscle weakness), stuttering, and “losing” your voice, temporarily or long-term.

Even if your condition falls short of meeting Social Security’s normal standard for that impairment, you might still qualify for benefits if your particular limitation has made working impossible, you can’t switch to a different line of work and you won’t be able to work for at least a year.

At Hanley Disability, our disability advocates have made it our mission to help people navigate the Social Security system and get the benefit dollars they deserve.

Let us help you gain support for a more secure life.


Get Help with Your Disability Application

You can get Hanley Disability to help you win disability benefits without paying any fee up front. You only pay when you win benefits, and even then your fee comes out of back benefits, not your future disability checks.

Being too sick to work is likely one of the most stressful times in your life. Don’t navigate the government’s complex Social Security Disability program on your own.

Social Security Disability is all we do. Give us a call.

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