Workers' Compensation claims in Tennessee for injuries such as hearing loss and carpal tunnel will become vastly more difficult after July 1, 2014. As discussed previously, injuries arising out of or in the course and scope of employment in Tennessee on or after July 1, 2014 are going to be treated substantially different under the "reformed" Tennessee Workers' Compensation Act. An example of a substantive change, would be the definition of injury. Tennessee Code Annotated section 50-6-102 injury definition for accidents on or after July 1, 2014.
A child suffering from severe hearing loss may qualify for Childhood SSI benefits. Childhood SSI claims are evaluated differently than adult claims for Social Security Disability or SSI and the requirements are actually more stringent. The Social Security Administration determines whether the child has an impairment or combination of impairments that meets or medically equals the criteria of a listing, or that functionally equals the listings. Disability benefits would be awarded if the claimant or her representative can show:
Hearing loss can be compensable under Part E of the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act (EEOICPA) if such loss arises as a result of exposure to one or more of the organic solvents listed below in conjunction with employment in at least one of certain specified labor categories during a prescribed timeframe.
Social Security Disability and SSI benefits can be available to individuals suffering from labyrinthine-vestibular dysfunction or Ménière's disease. Ménière's disease (hydrops or endolymphatic hydrops) is an inner ear disorder that affects balance and hearing. Claimants can qualify for benefits due to disturbance of labyrinthine-vestibular function if certain requirements are met.
People often wonder if they qualify for Social Security Disability or SSI benefits because they have difficulty hearing. People have heard that just because they have a bad hearing loss that they will automatically qualify for SSDI or SSI benefits. Claimants can qualify for benefits due to hearing loss, but the loss must be very severe to qualify under the Listings.
The General Assembly passed a workers compensation reform bill that will have vast implications for workers in Tennessee. The bill, which applies to injuries on or after July 1, 2011, narrows the definition of "injury" by requiring it be caused by a specific incident or set of incidents arising out of and in the course of employment identifiable by time and place of occurrence. Also, the opinion of the panel physician on causation is presumed correct, but may be rebutted by a preponderance of the evidence.