Vertigo is not a disability in and of itself, but it can be a symptom of a disability. If your vertigo is severe enough to prevent you from working, you may be able to qualify for disability benefits from the Social Security Administration.
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 there are several conditions that can cause vertigo that are listed in the Blue Book. These conditions include:
- Meniere’s disease
- Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV)
- Vestibular neuritis
- Multiple sclerosis
- Brain tumors
- Head injuries
- Cerebrovascular accidents (strokes)
What Are The Symptoms Of 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.
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.
- 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. It’s important to seek medical attention if you’re experiencing symptoms of vertigo, as it can be a sign of various underlying health conditions, and it can also increase the risk of falls and other accidents.
Medical Evidence You Need To Satisfy The Listing Criteria
If you’re applying for 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, 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. A physical examination may reveal signs of balance problems or other abnormalities.
- 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 a 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.
Can You Get Disability For Vertigo
Yes, it’s possible to qualify for disability benefits due to vertigo, but it depends on the severity of the condition, its impact on your ability to work, and the laws and regulations in your specific location.
In the United States, for example, 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.
How To Apply For Disability For Vertigo
To apply for disability for vertigo, you will need to file a 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
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.