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Vestibular Dysfunction Disability Insurance Benefits Claim

Disability insurance carriers often challenge a diagnosis of vestibular dysfunction. How Can Disability Insurance Attorneys Dell & Schaefer Assist You?

As disability attorneys, Dell & Schaefer have represented long term disability claimants that have been unable to work as a result of vestibular dysfunction. Disability Attorneys Dell & Schaefer have an expansive understanding of the significant restrictions and limitations that a person suffering with vestibular dysfunction must live with on a daily basis. We have worked closely with top physicians in order to sufficiently satisfy a disability carrier’s threshold of evidence necessary to prove that a client is disabled by a vestibular dysfunction.

Not everyone suffering from a vestibular dysfunction qualifies for long-term disability benefits, therefore the medical records of each client must be reviewed to determine the level of restrictions. We welcome the opportunity to discuss your long-term disability claim. You can contact us for a free initial consultation.

What is vestibular dysfunction?

To understand vestibular dysfunction we must first understand our vestibular system. Our vestibular system works with other sensorimotor systems in the body, such as our visual system (eyes) and skeletal system (bones and joints), to check and maintain the position of our body at rest or in motion. It also helps us maintain a steady focus on objects even though the position of our body changes. The vestibular system does this by detecting mechanical forces, including gravity, that act upon our vestibular organs when we move.

The organ of balance in your inner ear is the vestibular labyrinth. It includes loop-shaped structures (semicircular canals) that contain fluid and fine, hair-like sensors that monitor the rotation of your head. Near the semicircular canals are the utricle and saccule, which contain tiny particles called otoconia (o-toe-KOE-nee-uh). These particles are attached to sensors that help detect gravity and back-and-forth motion.

vestibular dysfunction disability benefits claim

Good balance depends on at least two of these three sensory systems working well. However, if your central nervous system can’t process signals from all of these locations, if the messages are contradictory or if the sensory systems aren’t functioning properly, you may experience loss of balance.

How the symptoms of to vestibular dysfunction can affect you

Vestibular disorders may cause dizziness, vertigo, fainting and imbalance. They can also affect a person’s vision, hearing and impair cognitive abilities. While there are over a dozen different balance disorders related to vestibular dysfunction, we will look at some of the most common disorders below.

  • Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) or positional vertigo is a brief, intense episode of vertigo that occurs because of a specific change in the position of the head. If you have BPPV, you might feel as if you’re spinning when you look for an object on a high or low shelf or turn your head to look over your shoulder (such as when you back up your car). You also may experience BPPV when you roll over in bed. BPPV is caused when otoconia tumble from the utricle into one of the semicircular canals and weigh on the cupula. The cupula can’t tilt properly and sends conflicting messages to the brain about the position of the head, causing vertigo. BPPV sometimes may result from a head injury or simply from aging.
  • Labyrinthitis is an infection or inflammation of the inner ear that causes dizziness and loss of balance. It frequently is associated with an upper respiratory infection such as the flu.
  • Ménière’s disease is associated with a change in fluid volume within parts of the labyrinth. Ménière’s disease causes episodes of vertigo, irregular hearing loss, tinnitus (a ringing or buzzing in the ear), and a feeling of fullness in the ear. The cause of this disease is unknown.
  • Vestibular neuronitis is an inflammation of the vestibular nerve and may be caused by a virus. Its primary symptom is vertigo.
  • Perilymph fistula is a leakage of inner ear fluid into the middle ear. It can occur after a head injury, drastic changes in atmospheric pressure (such as when scuba diving), physical exertion, ear surgery, or chronic ear infections. Its most notable symptom, besides dizziness and nausea, is unsteadiness when walking or standing that increases with activity and decreases with rest. Some babies may be born with perilymph fistula, usually in association with hearing loss that is present at birth.
  • Mal de debarquement syndrome (MdDS) is a balance disorder in which you feel as if you’re continuously rocking or bobbing. It generally happens after an ocean cruise or other sea travel. Usually, the symptoms will go away in a matter of hours or days after you reach land. However, severe cases can last months or even years.

People with vestibular dysfunction may experience profound impacts on their health, family, social and professional life due to the restrictions a vestibular disorder causes.

Vestibular rehabilitation may be effective in minimizing or relieving some of the symptoms, especially if the dizziness is caused by head movement, motion sensitivity, or certain positions. When rehabilitation isn’t successful in controlling vertigo and other symptoms caused by vestibular system dysfunction, surgery may be a viable option.

Surgical procedures for peripheral vestibular disorders are either corrective or destructive. The goal of corrective surgery is to repair or stabilize inner ear function. The goal of destructive surgery is to stop the production of sensory information or prevent its transmission from the inner ear to the brain.


There are many valuable sources of to vestibular dysfunction information available. You can also access resources over the internet such as:

There are 20 opinions so far. Add your comment below.

Emma Grieve:

Hi, my mum has Labyrinthitis and a lot of the time will end up bed ridden because she can get up and walk about and is off work a lot. She is too proud to ask for any help. The tablets from the doctors never help and only suppress the Labyrinthitis. She is better without them. Would she have a case to be on benefits, as a lot of the time she cannot work?

Attorney Stephen Jessup:


Each potential disability claim is unique. First and foremost, it would have to be determined what type of disability coverage your mother has. Does she have an employer provided policy? If not, her only option would be Social Security disability benefits.

Jessica Lane:

Hi, I had an acoustic neuroma removed last year and have not been able to return to work. because my tumor was on my vestibular nerve (which had to be compromised to facilitate the tumor removal) I have chronic disequilibrium, dizziness, fatigue, and pain. I have applied for SSDI and have been denied twice so now I am applying for a hearing by an administrative law judge. I’m very overwhelmed and need help wining my case.

Attorney Stephen Jessup:


I am sorry to hear of your difficulties in obtaining SSDI benefits. If you do not have a social security attorney I would highly recommend you find one prior to any hearing.

Marystella Gomez:

Hi, my husband has been diagnost with vestibular dysfunction. He hasn’t been able to work since 10/13. He has hearing lost in left ear, severe dizzines, headaches, neck pain, and constant vertigo. We need some advice. Should we get a lawyer before we do anything? Thank you!

Attorney Stephen Jessup:


Does your husband have active disability insurance coverage? If he ceased working in October, any plan he may have been covered by under an employer policy may no longer be in effect.

Deana W.:


My husband has been diagnosed with vestibulo-ocular-reflex. He is a corporate pilot and is on month two of three for short term disability. He is not getting ant better with therapy and we are worried. His company does carry short and long term disability insurance, (Reliance).

I contacted a local lawyer who specializes in disability insurance and he said there is nothing we can do now, that a long term claim must be denied first. This sounds rather grim, and I was wondering if we should be doing anything else at this time to help our case?

Thank you,
Deana Warren

Attorney Stephen Jessup:


Please feel free to contact our office. We assist claimants at all levels of representation, from applications for benefits, monthly claim handling, appeals, and litigation. It might not be wise to wait until something potentially bad happens that could negatively impact the future of the claim.


Hello, my name is Alicia. I am 21 years old and I am suffering from meniere’s disease. It limits me from doing almost anything. I have already applied for SSI benefits to help with bills and such, but I have been told my disorder is not considered to be a disability. Is there anything else I can do?

Attorney Stephen Jessup:


You will need to consult with an attorney that handles social security. Your only other option for financial help would be under a disability policy provided your employer, if you have coverage.


Hello, My name is Bob, I am 60 years old. I am a disabled veteran who has suffered with Vertigo, tinnitus, and hearing loss for many years. I am service connected at 60% disability for Ménière’s disease.

I have worked for the same company for over 32 yrs. I am Branch Manager who is responsible for 30 employees. I’m required to drive a company car. I have ongoing bouts of Vertigo which creats disorientation, confusion, extreme difficulty in communicating, and very inconsistent unsteadiness due to balance.

I have been actively enrolled in LTD for yrs with my company. I have tried to deal with this situation for years but my symptoms related to Vertigo is becoming to much to handle and the added stress from my job is increasing the severity of my symptoms.

I would like to better understand my options and if I would be a candidate for Long term disability?

Attorney Stephen Jessup:

Bob, please feel free to contact our office with a copy of your Policy and we will be more than happy to discuss your options under the policy.


Can Sun Life refuse my short term disability because I have had migraine with chronic vertigo since 2008? I started my job which includes Sun Life in my benefits on Nov 1 2015, I ended up in the ER with vestibular neuritis on December 23 2016 due to a recurrent cold being passed around the hospital I work at. I was seen in November for sinusitis prior to this debilitating virus. They are trying to say that the vestibular neuritis is part of a preexisting condition.

I have been managing these migraines with vertigo for years without the need for time off but since the sinus infection the vertigo is nearly intolerable. I have to see multiple doctors and am not able to drive let alone care for patients as an RN at my hospital.

Attorney Stephen Jessup:

Tonya, dependent on the documentation in you medical records and the definition of pre-existing condition Sun Life may very well be able to deny your claim based on the policy provision. Please feel free to contact our office to discuss how we may be able to assist you.


I am a truck driver and have been diagnosed with meneries disease and bilateral vestibular function. Can I get disability?

Attorney Stephen Jessup:

Chris, if you have an employer provided disability insurance policy it would appear you would have a strong argument as to the inability to perform your occupational duties. Please feel free to contact our office to discuss your situation and policy in greater detail.


I went on std in 2015 for bilateral vestibular hypofunction with oscillopsia caused by ototoxicity due to iv antibiotics. The condition is permanent. I have been on Ltd since, but now Cigna wants me to undergo an IME. The doctor they’ve chosen is very questionable from every standpoint. Should I engage an attorney now or wait until I am denied benefits. I am currently on SS benefits, but would really be hurt if I lost the Cigna piece.

Attorney Cesar Gavidia:

Laura, CIGNA will often request an IME as part of its on-going medical review of your claim. CIGNA will present the IME with questions regarding your diagnosis, restrictions and limitations and whether the medical records support on going disability. Unfortunately, the IME is not working for you and their opinions are usually the basis on which CIGNA will deny the disability claim. Please feel free to contact are office is you have further questions concerning the IME or if you would like to discuss retaining us to begin representing you with your CIGNA LTD claim.


I had a hysterectomy in 2016 I was always enmeic. That morning of the surgery I had my blood draw prior to surgery that day, right after the blood was drawn I lost my hearing in my left ear. I have been diagnosed with sudden hearing lost and vestibular neuritis. Just recent I have suffered from severe vertigo and now since my job had found this out… they have laid me off no pay no insurance and they still want me to do P/T… so now my deafness is damaged my life! I can’t work! What can I do? I know after they took my blood within seconds I went deaf…

Attorney Stephen Jessup:

LISA, did you have disability insurance coverage with your former employer? If so, you may still have the possibility of filing a claim for benefits under same. If not, the most I could suggest is to contact an employment attorney to discuss the circumstances of your termination and if you are not likely to return to work to explore the possibility of filing for Social Security disability. Please feel free to contact our office to discuss or if you would like some assistance in trying to get in contact with an employment or SSDI attorney.

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