How Much Money Can a Deaf Person Get Through SSDI?
People living with deafness or hearing impairment will qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI or SSD) benefits or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) if their degree of hearing loss meets the thresholds set by the Social Security Administration (SSA). Here’s how it works.
Maximum SSDI Benefits Payment for a Deaf Person
Deafness qualifies as a disability under SSDI rules. The amount of the benefits payment is calculated in the same manner as cases based on other disabilities.
The amount of the SSDI benefits to be paid to an individual recipient is determined by a formula using their average monthly taxable income during their 35 highest-earning years. The figure is adjusted through a process called “indexing” to account for inflation and other cost changes over the years. The resulting amount is called the claimant’s Average Indexed Monthly Earnings (AIME). The formula shown here is then applied to the AIME figure:
- 90 percent of the first $1,024 of the claimant’s average indexed monthly earnings, plus
- 32 percent of the claimant’s average indexed monthly earnings over $1,024 and through $6,172, plus
- 15 percent of the claimant’s average indexed monthly earnings over $6,172.
Then the final figure reached is rounded down to the nearest $0.10 if not already a multiple of ten.
This is your Primary Insurance Amount (PIA) and will reflect your payment amount.
How Does a Deaf or Hearing-Impaired Person Qualify for SSDI?
The SSA publishes what is referred to as the “Blue Book” in which the government categorizes a “list” of illnesses and impairments that qualify as disabilities. These “listed” impairments are described in detail including criteria to assess how significant the impairment is and how much it impacts the SSDI applicant’s life.
Like all claimed disabilities, supporting medical evidence must be filed as part of your SSDI claim. The SSA separates hearing loss cases into two subsets, those with cochlear implant treatment and those without cochlear implants.
If the SSDI claimant has a cochlear implant, the SSA recognizes that it would not have been implanted without profound hearing loss. Those applicants with cochlear implants will be qualified as disabled for SSDI benefits for at least one year following the implant procedure. If the hearing-impaired disability recipient wants to extend the SSDI benefits beyond one year, then a test is administered to measure how well they recognize spoken words. If their score for words recognized is 60% or less, then disability benefits will continue until their hearing improves above that level.
In claims based on hearing loss without cochlear implant treatment, the SSA requires the applicant to be examined by an otolaryngologist (ear, nose, and throat physician (ENT)) to rule out temporary or treatable conditions as the cause of any hearing loss. SSDI applicants must also submit the results of audiometric hearing tests that measure or quantify the extent of any deafness. The levels of hearing loss that will meet the criteria to qualify for SSDI benefits are specified in the Blue Book Listings. If the test results meet the SSA’s standards, then the applicant will be judged disabled and receive SSDI benefits if otherwise eligible.
Qualifying for SSDI Benefits When Loss of Hearing is Less than Profound
When a person suffers from hearing loss but it is not severe enough to meet the testing criteria identified in the SSDI Blue Book, the Social Security Administration still requires the SSDI disability evaluation to consider how significantly the hearing impairment contributes to their inability to work. For this assessment, each SSDI claimant’s age, education, and experience is used to determine their ability to perform sedentary work, light work, medium work, or heavy work. A rating will be assigned to represent the person’s Residual Functioning Capacity (RFC) with a low score indicating a lower likelihood of available employment fitting the applicant’s ability.
A Social Security Disability Lawyer Will Get You the Maximum SSDI Benefits
Living with a disability is a hard enough challenge without adding the need to navigate through all the federal and state government benefit bureaucracies. It sometimes seems that all the government does is create new rules and regulations.
At M. J. Ellis Disability Law, we specialize in cutting through the red tape and preparing your SSDI or SSI claim, supporting it fully with evidence, filing a complete application, and standing with you all the way to the final benefits decision. If necessary, M. J. Ellis Disability also offers full appellate services, including representing clients at hearings before the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ), the appellate board, and even into federal court if required.