Section 2 of the Blue Book is further broken into seven subsections. Each segment includes a full explanation of a particular sickness, disease, or disorder and makes advice to the SSA on how to evaluate each. The following are four subsections and their associated criteria for Social Security disability benefits eligibility:
Impairments in Hearing
Numerous tests must be undertaken to establish that you have a severe enough hearing impairment to qualify for Social Security disability benefits. This includes typical hearing tests (in which you press a button in response to hearing a tone), as well as tests of air conduction, bone conduction, and word recognition.
By and large, if you are unable to communicate, you are considered incapacitated. If your speech loss is caused by a neurological disorder, it will be reviewed under the area of the Blue Book devoted to neurological disorders. If the SSA determines that the cause of your speech loss is physical, they will assess if technology such as electronic voice articulation devices can potentially restore your speech to the point that you can operate on a job site.
Disorders of the Vision
Blindness is the most apparent visual disease. Being legally blind in both eyes will guarentee the qualification for Social Security disability benefits. Visual diseases that are less severe than complete blindness are classified according to the extent to which your vision is reduced, your acuity is impacted, and your field of vision is altered.
Generally, the SSA will evaluate solely the vision in your better eye when assessing whether you qualify for disability benefits due to “statutory blindness.” The SSA will want you to undergo a variety of vision tests (unless you can demonstrate that you have already had them). They are attempting to determine whether or not your visual impairments can be rectified sufficiently for you to perform significant employment.
Conditions that impair your field of vision (e.g., optic neuropathy, glaucoma, retinitis pigmentosa, etc.) are assessed differently and typically require the SSA to do a field test in addition to any tests conducted by your doctor or optometrist. They are primarily interested in confirming that the results of several field tests are consistent with one another.
When assessing vertigo-causing conditions, the SSA is primarily interested in determining the duration of the conditions, their frequency of occurrence, and their severity. CAT scans and MRIs are frequently used to demonstrate the numerous diseases that produce severe vertigo.
The following are certain disorders that fall under the SSA’s review of disability claims for Special Senses and Speech:
- Auditory Processing Disorder
- Loss of Speech
- Macular Degeneration
- Meniere’s Disease
- Otolaryngology (Hearing Loss)
- Partial Sight
- Retinitis Pigmentosa
- Vision Loss
- Visual Acuity or Efficiency