Yes, vertigo can be considered a disability if your medical condition is severe and prevents you from holding a job. To be eligible for disability benefits, you must prove that you meet SSA’s eligibility requirements and prove your condition is worsening even with proper treatment. If you are thinking about how to claim Social Security disability benefits for vertigo, you may look at the following sections. 

The SSA has a list of medical conditions that qualify for disability benefits, called the Blue Book. Vertigo is not listed in the Blue Book, but several conditions can cause vertigo that are listed in the Blue Book. These conditions include:

  • Labyrinthitis
  • Meniere’s disease
  • Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV)
  • Vestibular neuritis
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Brain tumors
  • Head injuries
  • Cerebrovascular accidents (strokes)

Can You Get Disability For Vertigo?

Yes, it’s possible to qualify for SSDI or SSI disability benefits due to vertigo, but it depends on the severity of the condition and its impact on your ability to work.

The Social Security Administration (SSA) does not have a specific listing for vertigo, but it does recognize conditions that cause vertigo. Vertigo could be evaluated under listings for inner ear disorders (Listing 2.07 Disturbance of labyrinthine-vestibular function), neurological disorders, or any other applicable listings depending on the underlying cause of the vertigo.

What Is Vertigo?

Vertigo is a condition that causes a false sense of movement or the feeling that you or your surroundings are spinning. It is a symptom, not a disease, and can be caused by a variety of factors, including inner ear problems, neurological disorders, and medications.

What Are The Symptoms Of Vertigo

The most common symptom of vertigo is a spinning sensation. This sensation can be mild or severe, and it can last for a few seconds or several minutes. Other symptoms of vertigo may include:

  • A sensation of spinning (rotational vertigo): This is the hallmark symptom of vertigo and can occur in either direction or seem to flip back and forth.
  • A feeling of being pulled in one direction: Some people may feel like they’re being pulled to one side, or they might feel like they’re falling.
  • Unsteadiness or loss of balance: This can occur when standing or walking, and it may increase the risk of falls.
  • Nausea or vomiting: The sensation of movement can cause a feeling of nausea or even lead to vomiting, similar to motion sickness.
  • Nystagmus (abnormal eye movements): This can cause the eyes to uncontrollably move side to side, up and down, or in a circular pattern.
  • Sweating: Some people may sweat more than usual during episodes of vertigo.
  • Hearing loss, tinnitus, or a feeling of fullness in the ear: If vertigo is associated with conditions like Meniere’s disease, these symptoms may also occur.
  • Headaches or migraines: Some people may experience headaches or migraines in conjunction with vertigo, especially if the vertigo is related to migraines (vestibular migraines).

The duration and frequency of these symptoms can vary. Some people may experience brief “attacks” of vertigo, while others may have persistent symptoms that last for hours or even days. 

When Is Vertigo Considered a Disability?

According to the SSA guidelines, any disorder will be considered a disability only if:

  • It prevents you from working or engaging in a substantial gainful activity
  • The disorder has been lasting for at least 12 months or more
  • It is preventing you from doing work that you did previously 

If you meet these requirements, your disorder will be considered a disability by the SSA. The SSA has included vertigo in the adult impairment listing. Under this listing, your vertigo will be evaluated based on the following points:

You are experiencing recurring and severe symptoms that comprise chronic dizziness, nausea, and vomiting. If your vertigo is caused due to Meniere’s disease, you may struggle with hearing loss or ringing in the ears. If vertigo is caused due to vestibular disorders, you must choose to go for a comprehensive neuro-otological exam.

Medical Evidence You Need To Satisfy The Listing Criteria

If you’re applying for disability benefits based on vertigo in the United States, it’s important to provide substantial medical evidence to support your claim. The Social Security Administration doesn’t have a specific listing for vertigo in its Blue Book but evaluates it under the listing for Disturbance of Labyrinthine-Vestibular Function (Listing 2.07).

The medical evidence you might need includes:

  • Medical history and physical examination: This includes a detailed description of your vertigo attacks, the frequency and duration, any triggers, associated symptoms (like nausea, vomiting, or hearing loss), and any known causes. 
  • Balance tests: These can help confirm a diagnosis of a balance disorder and can demonstrate the severity of your condition. This might include tests such as videonystagmography (VNG), rotary chair testing, or vestibular evoked myogenic potentials (VEMP) testing.
  • Hearing tests: If your vertigo is associated with hearing loss, as it often is in cases of Meniere’s disease, tests such as audiometry could be required.
  • Imaging studies: CT scans or MRIs can be useful if your doctor suspects that your vertigo is being caused by a structural problem in your brain or inner ear.
  • Doctors’ statements: Detailed statements from your treating doctors about your diagnosis, your symptoms, your response to treatment, and how your condition limits your ability to function can be crucial evidence.
  • Records of treatments and responses: Information about the treatments you’ve tried, how well they’ve worked, and any side effects you’ve experienced can help show that your condition is severe and ongoing despite attempts to manage it.

How To Apply For Disability For Vertigo

To apply for disability for vertigo, you will need to file a disability claim with the Social Security Administration. You can file your claim online, by mail, or by phone.

  • If you file your claim online, you will need to create an account on the SSA website. Once you have created an account, you can complete the disability application form and submit it online.
  • If you file your claim by mail, you will need to download the disability application form from the SSA website and mail it to the SSA office in your area.
  • If you file your claim by phone, you will need to call the SSA toll-free number at 1-800-772-1213. 

When you file your claim, you will need to provide the following information:

  • Your name, address, and date of birth
  • Your Social Security number
  • Your work history
  • Your medical history

Any information about your vertigo, including the symptoms you experience, how often you experience them, and how they affect your daily life

What If Your Vestibular Balance Disorder Doesn’t Meet The Listing?

If your vertigo does not meet the listing of the SSA, you need to show evidence that proves that your condition is severe and long-lasting. Furthermore, you need to prove that your medical condition interferes with their day-to-day activities. 

Some factors play an essential role in proving this such as age, educational qualification, limitations, and work experience. You can also submit a Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) Assessment form to the SSA. 

Why It’s Hard To Get Disability Benefits For Vertigo?

The SSA’s guidelines are straightforward for vertigo. However, proving that your vertigo is disabling becomes a challenge. Two of the fundamental reasons why getting approved for vertigo disability benefits are:

  • Your vertigo symptoms are subjective

The vertigo severity depends largely on the underlying condition that is responsible for causing the disorder. Some may experience symptoms like nausea while others may have problems in hearing or doing simple movements. However, the main issue is vertigo symptoms are subjective. Some ways to measure it can be lab tests or medical examinations. 

  • Vertigo cases may be temporary

To be considered a disability, your vertigo must be permanent. Therefore, the SSA requires that a medical condition that has been lasting for at least 12 months or more. Some people may experience temporary vertigo whereas some may struggle with symptoms for a long. Therefore, it is uncertain to determine whether vertigo is disabling or not.

How Much Is a Disability Check For Vertigo?

The average disability check for Vertigo is approximately $1,342.17. For Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), the maximum monthly amount is $3,822 and $943 for Supplemental Security Income in 2024.

Want To Apply For The Vertigo Disability Claim? Talk to An Attorney

If you are struggling to apply for disability for vertigo, you may want to consider hiring an attorney who specializes in disability law. A Social Security disability attorney can help you file your claim, gather medical documentation, and represent you at hearings.