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Disability Benefits and Ménière’s Disease

January 23, 2023

Introduction to Ménière’s Disease

Ménière’s Disease is described by many medical institutions, such as the Mayo Clinic, as a disorder of the inner ear that causes episodes of vertigo (dizziness), loss of balance, tinnitus (ringing) and hearing loss. Johns Hopkins, however, refers to Ménière’s Disease as a “balance disorder”, recognizing vertigo as the most disruptive aspect of this disorder.

“Vertigo is one of the main symptoms of Ménière disease” according to Johns Hopkins, noting that it “can cause falls, trouble driving, or prevent other normal activities of daily living.”  The severity, frequency, and duration of episodes can vary greatly from person to person. The unpredictable nature of the episodes and risk of serious harm can make it very difficult for some people to continue working with Ménière’s Disease.

In the following video and post, Balin Law Disability Attorney Chad Delesk explains what Social Security will require in order to approve a claim for Disability Benefits.

If you’re considering filing for disability, contact us for a free consultation! There are no fees to get started and you’ll never pay anything out of pocket; Social Security will pay us directly out of the past-due benefits they owe you!

The following post is adapted from the transcript from this video (embedded above):

“Can you get disability for Ménière’s disease?”

Yes you can, but it really depends on the severity of the Ménière’s. To qualify for disability under any condition, you need a physical or mental impairment that significantly impacts your ability to work on a full-time basis and is expected to last at least 12 months.

There’s two ways to qualify [for disability benefits] for Ménière’s disease with Social Security. One is if you satisfy what’s called the “medical listings”, and the medical listings is exactly that. It’s a long list of various impairments under different body systems and they [SSA] list out specific criteria. If you meet that criteria or if it’s shown in your medical records, you’re found to automatically qualify for disability benefits.

1. Meeting SSA’s Medical Listing

The Social Security Administration (SSA) has a medical listing for Ménière’s, under listing 2.07 in the Listing of Impairments, also known as the Blue Book. It’s called “Disturbance of Labyrinthine-Vestibular Function” and it’s “characterized by a history of frequent attacks of balance disturbance, tinnitus and progressive loss of hearing”.

There are two requirements under this listing. There’s an A and a B and you had to meet both to qualify for disability.

Under A you need “disturbed function of vestibular labyrinth demonstrated by caloric or other vestibular tests”, and then under B you need “hearing loss demonstrated by audiometry”. So, you’re going to need a lot of testing to support a case for disability with Social Security. You’re going to need the caloric testing, you’re going to need audiometry done, any CAT scans, MRIs, x-rays that are done – you’ll want those to be submitted.

You really want to create a paper trail of the medical records, because you have to show that you’re having frequent attacks under this listing. As we know with Ménière’s disease, it could be very episodic; you could get them far and few in between, maybe once or twice a year, or you could be battling this on a daily basis. So that’s why I say it really depends on the severity and especially the frequency of your attacks.

2. Proving Limitations Due to Your Condition

The other way that you can qualify for disability is if they look at your Ménière’s disease and any limitations that flow from that condition and any other condition that you have. They [SSA] look at what you still retain the ability to do and whether or not you could perform any work.

As we know with Ménière’s disease, you could have attacks pretty frequently and that could affect your attendance. A lot of times Social Security will find that somebody’s disabled if they’re expected to be absent more than one or two days per month. Or, because of these attacks, maybe it’s difficult for you to concentrate and focus and you’re going to be off task. You might be attending work, but while you’re there you’re not really concentrating, you’re not efficient at what you’re doing. Most likely, if you’re off task more than 10-20% of the day, Social Security will find that you’re disabled, so you really want to document. Tell your doctors the frequency and the severity of these attacks and make sure that they’re making it into the medical records because that’s important, not only for the listings, but also when they go to assess your ability to work.

If you have any questions about Ménière’s disease and how you might qualify for disability benefits, please don’t hesitate to give us a call. You can call toll-free at (866) 49-BALIN, or you can look us up on the web at bailinlaw.com. You can use the chat function 24/7 or send us an email. Thank you.

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