Meniere's disease is a disorder of the inner ear that causes severe vertigo (dizziness), ringing in the ears and hearing loss. Individuals with this condition can suffer debilitating episodes of dizziness and hearing loss, making working during these times difficult. The unpredictability of the condition can make it difficult to determine when these episodes will occur. There is currently no cure for this condition, and many who have it are unable to work and choose to apply for Social Security Disability Insurance to replace their income.
If you have Meniere's disease and would like assistance with your Social Security Disability benefits claim, contact Dayes Law Firm PC. Our experienced disability attorneys in Phoenix can review your claim and determine if you may qualify for benefits.
Symptoms of Meniere's Disease
Some with Meniere's disease only experience attacks of dizziness on rare occasions separated by long periods of time, while others experience more frequent attacks that can occur close together over several days.
For some, vertigo is so extreme that it can cause them to lose their balance and fall, known as a drop attack.
Overtime, individuals with Meniere's disease may eventually suffer from permanent hearing loss.
Physical symptoms of Meniere's disease may include:
- Fluid retention in the ear
- Ringing in the ear
- Pressure in the ear canal
- Sensitivity to visual impulses
Attacks of Meniere's disease may involve the following symptoms:
- Severe vertigo
- Nausea and vomiting
These attacks may last anywhere between 20 minutes to four hours. Additionally, claimants with this condition may suffer from emotional symptoms, including emotional distress, anxiety and depression.
Meeting a Listing for Meniere's Disease
Meniere's disease is categorized under listing 20.7 (disturbance of labyrinthine-vestibular function) in the Social Security Administration's Blue Book of Impairment Listings.
To qualify under the listing, you must have a history of frequent attacks involving problems with balance, ringing in the ears and progressive hearing loss. Additionally, you must have disturbed function of vestibular labyrinth shown by specific tests and hearing loss shown by audiometry.
If these criteria cannot be met but you have significant hearing loss, you may qualify under another listing.
Your condition must be expected to last at least 12 months and prevent you from being able to work.
Residual Functional Capacity Assessment
If you do not meet any of the Blue Book Listings, you may still qualify for disability benefits if the condition prevents you from being able to work.
Individuals with this condition may suffer debilitating symptoms that interfere with work duties. For example, they may suffer from dizzying episodes that require them to stop working. They may have a sudden symptom of the condition, making it unsafe to work on heavy machinery or from heights. The medications that individuals with this condition take can also have significant side effects, such as fatigue and sleepiness.
The Social Security Administration (SSA) will conduct a residual functional capacity assessment to evaluate the claimant's medical history and symptoms to determine the extent of limitations the claimant experiences. This information is used to determine what type of work the claimant can do, if any.
To support your disability claim, you will have to submit thorough medical evidence, such as:
- Doctor's notes that detail your dizzying episodes
- Audiometry test results
- Caloric test results
- Hospital records indicating times you have fallen
- Speech exam results
- Neurological examination and treatment notes and results that provide detailed descriptions regarding the frequency, duration and severity of episodes
- Imaging reports such as MRI, CAT scans or X-rays
If your medical records cannot substantiate the true extent of your condition, the SSA may ask you to visit with a physician or audiologist for a consultative examination.
Seek Legal Assistance for Your Disability Claim
If you have Meniere's disease and are unable to work because of this condition, you may be eligible for Social Security Disability benefits. However, it can be difficult to prove the disabling effects of this condition. It is important to contact an experienced Social Security Disability Insurance lawyer for assistance.
The experienced Social Security Disability attorneys at Dayes Law Firm PC can collect medical evidence and other records to support your disability claim. We provide a free consultation to our clients to discuss your claim and how we can help. We work on a contingency, so you only pay for our services if you are approved for benefits.