Read the Latest News

New Report on Temporomandibular Disorders: Priorities for Research and Care

Over a year and half ago, the National Academy of Medicine (NAM) began the most comprehensive study ever undertaken on Temporomandibular Disorders (TMD). The study assessed the current state of TMD research, education and training, the safety and efficacy of clinical treatments, and associated burden and costs.

Statement by NIDCR Acting Director on the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine Report on Temporomandibular Joint Disorders

I am pleased to announce the release of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) report, Temporomandibular Disorders: Priorities for Research and Care. As underscored by the comprehensive report, temporomandibular joint disorders (TMJDs) are a diverse and still poorly understood set of complex, painful conditions affecting the jaw muscles and tissues, temporomandibular joints, and associated nerves. Clearly, there is much more to be understood, and these conditions continue to confound medical and dental health care providers and researchers.

Have you seen the film Dark Waters?

The Film. Dark Waters is about attorney Robert Billott's real-life 20 year legal battle against DuPont chemical for releasing toxic waste - perfluorooctanoic acid, or PFOA - into Parkersburg, West Virginia's water supply, with devastating health effects on the townspeople and livestock. PFOA, also known as C8, is a man-made chemical. It is used in the process of making Teflon and similar chemicals known as fluorotelomers.

Online TMD Diet Diary Research Project

Online TMD Diet Diary Research Project The TMJ Association received the following request from Professor Justin Durham and his research team at Newcastle University. We encourage TMJ patients to participate in this project as it is an under researched

Drug Induced Bruxism

The authors of this article state that orofacial movement disorders (bruxism) are treated typically by dental professionals and not by those specialists (neurologists) researching and treating the other movement disorders (Parkinson's disease, Huntington's disease, tremors, etc.). Again, this is more evidence of the complexity of TMD and the need for multidisciplinary research and treatment in TMD.

Social Security Disability Benefits and Temporomandibular Disorders

  • Apr 6, 2017

Those who suffer from Temporomandibular Disorders also referred to as TMJ or TMD, may find it impossible to maintain the responsibilities associated with full-time work activity. Some of the symptoms associated with Temporomandibular Disorder, such as vertigo, light sensitivity, and severe pain in the neck, head, and ears, can make it impossible to earn an income. The resulting lack of income can lead to significant financial stress. Fortunately, in some cases, Social Security Disability benefits can help alleviate some of the financial strain associated with this condition.

Qualifying for Social Security Disability Benefits with a Temporomandibular Disorders

When you apply for Social Security Disability benefits, the SSA will compare your condition to a listing of conditions known as the Social Security Blue Book ( This publication contains all of the conditions that could possibly qualify an individual for disability benefits, as well as the criteria that must be met in order to be approved under each listing. While there is no specific listing for Temporomandibular Disorders, there are listings that are associated with the effects that this condition may cause.

For example:

  • If you suffer from a speech impairment or have difficulty speaking due to jaw dysfunction or pain, you may be able to qualify for benefits under Section 2.08 of the Blue Book, which addresses loss of speech.
  • If you suffer from vertigo, you may be able to qualify for disability benefits under Section 2.07 of the Blue Book, which addresses disturbance of labyrinth-vestibular function.
  • If you suffer from hearing loss or severe tinnitus due to your condition, you may be able to qualify for benefits under Section 2.09 of the Blue Book, which covers hearing loss.
  • If you find it difficult to eat due to your limited jaw movement and have suffered weight loss because of this, you may be able to qualify for benefits under Section 5.08 of the Blue Book.

When applying for benefits based on a specific Blue Book listing, it is important to research the criteria that must be met under that listing and provide all of the medical documentation needed to prove to the SSA that you meet the criteria that has been established under that particular listing. For example, if you are applying for benefits under Section 2.07 of the Blue Book, addressing vertigo, you must provide the SSA with proof of the following:

  • You suffer from disturbance of labyrinthine-vestibular function that has been characterized by a history of frequent attacks of balance disturbance, tinnitus, and progressive loss of hearing; and
  • You suffer from a disturbed function of vestibular labyrinth demonstrated by caloric or other vestibular tests; and
  • You suffer from hearing loss established by audiometry.

By providing the proper medical evidence along with your application for benefits, you will have a better chance of being approved for benefits during the initial stage of the application process.

Conditions Coexisting with Temporomandibular Disorders

Temporomandibular Disorders often coexist with other conditions such as chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, interstitial cystitis, irritable bowel syndrome, etc. While there is no specific listing for Temporomandibular Disorders in the Blue Book, the conditions previously mentioned are covered in the Blue Book.

Fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis and chronic fatigue syndrome are evaluated under Section 1.00 of the Blue Book (Musculoskeletal Disorders). For information on qualifying with these conditions, visit:

Interstitial Cystitis and Irritable Bowel Syndrome are evaluated under Section 5.00 of the Blue Book (Digestive System Disorders). For more information on qualifying with these conditions, visit:

Qualifying without Meeting a Blue Book Listing

If your condition does not meet any of the listings contained in the Blue Book, you may still be able to qualify for disability benefits if you can prove that your condition prevents you from performing any type of work activity whatsoever. This is what is known as a medical vocational allowance.

For approval based on a medical vocational allowance, the SSA will conduct what is known as a residual functional capacity assessment or an RFC. A medical consultant will assess your functional restrictions and limitations in order to rate your ability to work and evaluate your residual functional capacity, which determines whether you can perform light, sedentary, medium, or heavy work. If it is determined that you are unable to perform any type of work activity, you will be awarded Social Security Disability benefits.

Financially Qualifying for Social Security Disability Benefits

There are two types of Social Security Disability programs including Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Each program has its own technical eligibility requirements.

If you are applying for SSDI benefits, you will need to have earned a certain number of work credits through previous work history. The exact number of work credits needed will vary depending on age. If you have not earned any work credits or do not have enough work credits to qualify for SSDI benefits, you may still be able to qualify for SSI benefits.

The SSI program is a need-based program. No work credits are needed to qualify for SSI benefits. Instead, the SSA will look at your household income and assets. In order to qualify for SSI benefits, as of 2013, your household income cannot exceed $710 per month as an individual or $1,060 per month as a couple. Your household assets may also not exceed $2,000 as an individual or $3,000 as a couple.

For more information on SSDI and SSI, visit:

The Application Process

You can apply for benefits online at the SSA website or in person at your local Social Security office. When applying for disability benefits, you will be asked to fill out a number of forms. When filling out these forms, be sure to fill in each form in its entirety and provide detailed answers to each question. The answers you offer will help the SSA understand how your condition prevents you from performing work activity. The more detail you can give on these forms, the easier it will be for the SSA to understand why you qualify for Social Security Disability benefits.

When applying, also make sure that you provide copies of all necessary medical proof and documentation. If applying for SSI, you should also bring proof of financial eligibility, such as recent bank statements.

You will receive a decision regarding your claim approximately three to six months from the date of your initial application. If you are denied benefits, you have 60 days from the date of your denial to appeal the SSA's decision. If you are denied, it is important that you do not give up. Approximately 60 percent of all initial applications are denied by the SSA. Many applicants go on to successfully appeal a denial of benefits. When dealing with an appeal, you may want to consider retaining the services of a Social Security Disability attorney. Statistics have shown that applicants who pursue the appeal process with the help of an attorney are more likely to be awarded benefits than those who try to represent themselves.

Article by Ram Meyyappan

Social Security Disability Help

Ultimate Guide to Social Security Disability Benefits

©2017 The TMJ Association, Ltd. All rights

TMJ Disorders


Login or Register to add Comment

In Treating TMJ

To view or order a free booklet about TMJ Disorders, visit the National Institutes of Health website.

National Institutes of Health
National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research
Office of Research on Women's Health