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Can Michigan claimants get SSD benefits for sensory impairments?

A worker with a sensory impairment may qualify for Social Security Disability (SSD) Insurance (SSDI) benefits. A sensory impairment negatively impacts one's vision, hearing or speech and may result from an injury or disease. Those who suffer from such impairments may have difficulty performing the regular tasks that their jobs require. Or, worse, they may be prevented from working at all.

When a sensory impairment has a long-term impact on a person's ability to work in a meaningful way, the impaired individual will likely suffer considerable financial consequences, in addition to the effects of the sensory impairment itself. In the cases of certain impairments, Social Security Disability benefits may be available to help offset some of the wage loss and other financial impacts from the inability to work.

Not all sensory impairments will qualify, though. To receive SSD benefits, a claimant must have an impairment that meets the thresholds established by the Social Security Administration (SSA), and the impairment must be documented by medical evidence from a qualified health care provider. An impairment that is not considered severe enough or that is insufficiently documented may be denied.

Examples of sensory impairments that could qualify for SSD benefits include hearing loss, even if the claimant has cochlear implants, if an inability to discern speech is present or if auditory tests show that the ability to hear fails to meet SSA standards. Legal blindness may qualify if the claimant's vision is less than 20/20 in the strongest corrected eye. When a labyrinthine-vestibular impairment affects balance or hearing, it may qualify for SSDI, as may the loss of one's ability to speak.

Source:, "2.00 Special Senses and Speech - Adult," accessed on April 17, 2018

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