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Can I Get Disability for Ménière's Disease? How to Qualify

Written by
Jackie Jakab, Disability Attorney
Jackie Jakab
Lead Attorney
January 12, 2024  ·  3 min read
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Atticus offers free, high-quality disability advice for Americans who can't work. Our team of Stanford and Harvard trained lawyers has a combined 15+ years of legal experience, and have helped over 10,000 Americans apply for disability benefits.

See if you qualify

If Ménière's disease symptoms like dizziness and hearing loss make it impossible for you to work, you may qualify for disability benefits. In 2021, 10% of Social Security disability benefits recipients qualified for a disease of the nervous system and sense organs, which is how the Social Security Administration (SSA) classifies Ménière's disease.

Securing disability benefits for Ménière's disease can be a challenge. Learn how the SSA defines Ménière's disease and the criteria to qualify for benefits.


What is Ménière's disease?

Ménière's disease, also known as idiopathic endolymphatic hydrops, is an inner ear condition that can cause vertigo, tinnitus, and hearing loss. Typically, Ménière's disease affects one ear. If your condition of Ménière's disease causes frequent periods of dizziness and ear ringing, you may qualify for Social Security disability benefits.


Is Ménière's disease a disability?

Yes, the Social Security Administration considers Ménière's disease a disability. The condition appeared in the SSA Blue Book, a listing of impairments, in Section 2.07 under Special Senses and Speech conditions. To qualify for disability benefits, your condition must meet the criteria outlined for Ménière's disease in the listing.

The Americans with Disabilities Act also considers Ménière's disease is disability. The ADA, which prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities, can protect a person with Ménière's disease if the condition if substantially limiting.

Ménière's disease symptoms

People with Ménière's disease can experience a variety of symptoms. Common symptoms of the inner ear disorder may include:

  • Hearing loss
  • Loss of balance
  • Severe dizziness, or vertigo
  • Tinnitus
  • The feeling of congestion or pressure in the ear(s)
Ready to get benefits today?

Can you get disability for Ménière's disease?

Yes, you can get disability benefits for Ménière's disease. To qualify, you will need to prove you are unable to work due to the severity of your symptoms. 

Like other conditions, it can be challenging to qualify for disability benefits with Ménière's disease due to strict SSA criteria. It can be easier to get benefits if you apply with another qualifying condition. For example, people with Ménière's disease may also have the following conditions:


Criteria for getting disability with Ménière's disease

The Social Security Administration evaluates Ménière's disease based on vestibular functionality. Qualifying for benefits requires symptoms severe enough to impact your ability to work. 

To qualify, your Ménière's disease must manifest in frequent issues with balance as well as tinnitus and progressive hearing loss, according to SSA standards. Evidence to meet this criteria include:

  • Proof of disturbed vestibular labyrinth functioning through caloric or other vestibular tests

AND

  • Hearing loss established by audiometry

If you experience vertigo due to your Ménière's disease, the SSA may also take that into account. Because of the irregularity and unpredictability of vertigo attacks, the SSA notes that prolonged observation and routine reexamination may be necessary to prove vertigo. 

It's also necessary to undergo comprehensive neuro-otolaryngologic examination, including pure tone and speech audiometry and when appropriate, a Bekesy audiometry test.

Reports from any other testing, such as a polytomogram, contrast radiography, CTI, or MRI, may also be taken into consideration.


4 Questions to ask yourself before applying

If you're able to answer “yes” to most of the following questions, your Ménière's disease has a better chance of qualifying:

  1. Do you experience issues like difficulty balancing, tinnitus, and progressive hearing loss due to your Ménière's disease?
  2. Have you undergone caloric or other vestibular tests to prove you have disturbed vestibular labyrinth functioning?
  3. Is your loss of hearing established by audiometry?
  4. Do you experience vertigo due to your Ménière's disease, and if so, have you undergone a comprehensive neuro-otolaryngologic examination to assess your episodes of vertigo?

My Ménière's disease meets the criteria. Now what?

If your Ménière's disease meets the criteria, the next step is to apply for disability benefits. If you're not sure whether your Ménière's disease will meet the SSA criteria, you can refer to the following advice to help determine what next step to take:

Apply now if:

  • You've been diagnosed with Ménière's disease and received treatment
  • Your symptoms are documented through testing and are severe enough to interfere with your ability to continue working
  • You have another health condition that qualifies for disability

Consider waiting and applying later if:

  • Your symptoms are moderate or seem like they are getting better with treatment
  • You're not quite yet to the point where you need to stop working, even if you think you may need to in the future

Probably don’t apply if:

For more guidance, take our 2-minute disability quiz. If your answers indicate that you might be eligible for benefits, a member of the team will follow up to learn more about your condition and advise you on the next steps. Atticus can also pair you with a qualified disability lawyer at no upfront costs.


How much is a disability check for Ménière's disease?

The average disability check for Ménière's disease is $1,342.17. The maximum monthly amount is $3,822 for Social Security Disability Insurance and $943 for Supplemental Security Income.

These are the maximum possible amounts, regardless of which condition you use to apply for Social Security disability benefits or how many qualifying conditions you include on your application. If you're applying for SSDI, your monthly disability check amount depends on your work history. The calculations for SSI differ, and monthly benefit amounts depend on other income sources.

To learn more about how much you might receive each month for Ménière's disease, here's an in-depth look at how much people make on SSDI and SSI.


What if my Ménière's disease doesn’t meet the criteria?

You may have concluded after reading this article that your Ménière's disease likely won't meet the SSA criteria to qualify for disability. Even so, you can apply for benefits and qualify if you can prove you're unable to work due to the severity of your Ménière's disease.

Even those with severe Ménière's disease can expect a long and challenging path toward winning Social Security disability benefits. Just 20% of applicants are approved on their first try. Don't get discouraged though — you can appeal the initial denial, and the chances of winning an appeal are significantly better. If you need financial or legal assistance in the near term, Atticus has resources for people with disabilities that can help.


Related resources:

Qualifying for Disability: Everything You Should Know

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By Jackie Jakab

Is it Hard to Get Disability for Mental Illness? (Yes, But This Can Help)

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By Sydney Hershenhorn

Other conditions that can qualify for disability:

Alzheimer's

Anemia

Anxiety

Arthritis

Asthma

Autism

Back pain

Bipolar disorder

Borderline Personality Disorder

Brain tumor

Breast cancer

Cancer

Carpal tunnel

Colostomy bag

Coma/Vegetative States

COPD

Crohn's disease

Depression

Diabetes

Dialysis

Epilepsy

Fibromyalgia

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)

Insomnia

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

Kidney disease

Long Covid

Lupus

Mental illness

Migraines

Narcolepsy

OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder)

Panic disorder

Parkinson's

Peripheral neuropathy

PTSD

Rheumatoid Arthritis Schizophrenia

Sciatica

Sickle cell

Ulcerative colitis

See all conditions

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Jackie Jakab, Disability Attorney

Jackie Jakab

Lead Attorney

Jackie Jakab is Atticus’s Legal Director. She’s a licensed attorney, a graduate of the University of Chicago Law School, and has counseled thousands of people seeking disability benefits.
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