We do not request reimbursement of costs
(such as repayment for obtaining medical records)
from veterans nor from people who suffer from multiple sclerosis.

What is Vertigo?

Vertigo is the medical term used to describe the condition that causes you to feel as though you or the room is spinning even though you and your surroundings are motionless.  

It is a disorder that is typically caused by a problem with the vestibular system in the inner ear, which is responsible for balance and orientation. It can be diagnosed through an array of medical tests and examinations.

Is Vertigo a disability?

If vertigo is causing you a medically disabling condition such as a vestibular balance disorder, the Social Security Administration will analyze whether you meet all the eligibility requirements of the Blue Book or not. 

People who are experiencing vertigo may qualify for social security disability benefits. To be eligible for vertigo disability, your medical condition may be severe and the medical treatment is not showing improvement.  However, it may also stop you from doing any day-to-day activities. Some people may also show that Meniere’s disease can also be the cause of the disorder. 

Common causes of vertigo

There are a few common causes of vertigo such as Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV), Meniere’s disease, vestibular neuritis, migraines, head or neck injuries, ear damage, and certain medications.

BPPV: It is a condition that is caused by a dislodgement of particles in the inner ear. These calcium crystals are normally attached to one of the balance organs in the inner ear. The particles can move from the utricle or saccule and settle in one of the semicircular canals, where they stimulate the nerve endings and cause vertigo. This can occur with sudden head movements, such as rolling over in bed.

Meniere’s disease: It is an inner ear disorder caused by fluid buildup in the semicircular canals of the inner ear. This means that the information sent to the brain is abnormal, leading to dizziness and vertigo. It is a chronic condition that can also cause episodes of tinnitus and hearing loss.

Vestibular neuritis (or labyrinthitis): It is an inner ear disorder caused by a viral infection. It is often preceded by a cold or upper respiratory infection. This can cause inflammation in the inner ear and damage to the vestibular nerve, which controls balance. This can cause vertigo, nausea, vomiting and difficulty walking or standing.

Migraine: People who experience migraines often experience vertigo as one of the symptoms. The vertigo is usually accompanied by headaches and visual disturbances, such as blind spots or flashing lights in the peripheral vision.

Head or neck injuries: A blow to the head or neck can cause vertigo due to disruption of nerve signals from the inner ear to the brain. This is also known as traumatic vertigo.

Ear damage: Damage to the cochlea, which is responsible for hearing, can lead to vertigo. This is because the cochlea and vestibular system are closely related, so any damage to one can cause disturbances in the other.

Certain medications: Certain medications, such as anti-depressants, anticonvulsants and some antibiotics, can cause vertigo as a side effect.  It is important to talk to your doctor about any medications that you are taking and discuss the potential side effects.

Vertigo is a common disorder that can significantly affect a person’s balance, mobility, and quality of life. Understanding the causes of vertigo is important in order to properly diagnose and treat it.

Symptoms of Vertigo

A common symptom of vertigo is a sensation of spinning or moving even when you are stationary.  This feeling can be accompanied by other symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, sweating and difficulty walking. Other common symptoms include ringing in the ears (tinnitus), hearing loss, and balance problems.

The disorder affects the vestibular labyrinth located in your inner ear. It is a complex system of canals filled with fluid and microscopic hairs that monitor movement and provide information to the brain. When this system is disrupted, the brain does not receive accurate signals about your body’s position. The inner ear may send signals to the brain that the head is moving when it is actually still. The signals conflict with the other senses, resulting in the feeling of vertigo.
Disability Benefits for Vertigo
The disorder can cause the following symptoms:

  • Dizziness,
  • Nausea and vomiting,
  • Loss of balance,
  • Difficulty walking or standing,
  • Blurred vision,
  • Ringing in the ears (tinnitus),
  • Hearing loss,
  • Depression, and more.

It is important to note that vertigo is not synonymous with motion sickness. Motion sickness is an illness caused by movement and can be treated with over-the-counter medications. Vertigo, on the other hand, requires medical attention in order to determine the cause and provide appropriate treatment.

How is chronic vertigo diagnosed? 

Chronic vertigo is often diagnosed by using the head-thrust, Romberg, and Fukuda-Unterberger test to assess your eye movement and balance. Risk factors for vertigo include cardiovascular disease, ear infections, head trauma, and certain antidepressant and antipsychotic medications.

In order to diagnose chronic vertigo, your doctor may also order several lab tests to rule out other conditions such as infection, nerve damage, or a tumor. It is important to discuss your symptoms with your doctor in order to determine the cause of your vertigo and receive the best treatment. Your doctor may also recommend lifestyle changes such as avoiding certain activities or using motion sickness medications.

Can you get a disability for vertigo?

If your vertigo disability is caused by a labyrinthine-vestibular dysfunction or you can’t work due to vertigo, you may qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). Although vertigo alone may not be sufficient to meet the eligibility requirements, it may be combined with other medical conditions to meet the agency’s criteria.

The Social Security Administration (SSA) lists vestibular balance disorders as a disability in the Blue Book. It is included under Part B Otolaryngology in Section 2.0, Special Senses and Speech. To qualify, your vertigo-related balance problems must also be accompanied by some level of hearing loss and tinnitus, an inexplicable ringing noise in your ears.

Your SSA application for vertigo disability should include your medical history, diagnosis, and the results of any prescribed therapy or hospital stays. Along with reports of imaging studies, such as CT scans, x-rays, and MRIs, your doctor’s statement should include the number, length, and severity of your attacks.

In addition to a comprehensive exam performed by a neuro-otolaryngologist, the SSA may require that your records include hearing tests conducted by an ear, nose, and throat specialist. It would show that your hearing loss and tinnitus, along with your vertigo symptoms, are contributing to your disability.

It would also be beneficial to include a letter from your doctor that states how your vertigo disability affects your daily life, such as the difficulties you have with walking, concentration, and maintaining balance. The more documentation you can provide, the better your chances of being approved for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits.

It is important to note that each case is different and the SSA makes its decisions based on individual circumstances. Presenting a strong case with adequate medical evidence is the best way to increase your chances that your application will be approved.

Get legal help if you are unable to meet the listing of the SSA

If you are unable to work due to your disability for vertigo, you can consult a disability lawyer on how to file a disability claim. They can help you understand the Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) if you do not meet the listing. If you need help organizing a free consultation or booking an appointment, please fill out our contact form.

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