Everyday People Matter

Criteria for Social Security Disability Benefits for Hearing Loss

| Oct 11, 2016 | Applying for benefits, Residual Functional Capacity

The Social Security Administration (SSA) makes it possible for persons with hearing loss to qualify for benefits. However, the level of hearing loss must be severe or profound. Mild or moderate hearing loss typically does not qualify for benefits.

If your hearing loss has not resulted in you getting a cochlear implant, you must undergo either an audiometry test or a word recognition test to determine if you qualify for benefits. The autometry test must prove that your hearing threshold is worse than or equal to 90 decibels (dB). In the word recognition test, your score must be a maximum of 40% in the better ear. These tests must be conducted without the use of hearing aids.

If, however, you have cochlear implants in either one or both ears, you will automatically qualify for disability benefits. These benefits will last for up to one year after the initial determination.  If your word recognition score continues to remain below or at 60%, your benefits will be extended beyond that period of time.

If your hearing disability does not qualify under the above criteria, you may still qualify for benefits if you are able to show that your hearing loss makes it impossible for you to do jobs that earn produce a sustainable income. To determine whether your hearing loss is at this level, SSA will try to understand the kind of work that you can do with your hearing loss. It will do this by determining your Residual Function Capacity, and will focus on work that you might do, even with your level of hearing impairment.

Have a hearing impairment and want to know if you qualify for Social Security benefits? Speak with an experienced Atlanta Social Security disability benefits attorney as soon as possible.