Individuals with “hidden disabilities” are often misunderstood and overlooked. When it comes to claiming and receiving benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA), specifically Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), it can be difficult to get approved when compared to claimants who have much clearer and more noticeable physical or mental impairments. About 1 in 10 Americans live with a medical condition that may be considered a hidden disability. Among those who have chronic medical conditions, about 96% live with a hidden or invisible condition.
Common factors with hidden disabilities
There are number of features common with hidden disabilities. These include:
- It is a disability others cannot see.
- The disability is permanent from a medical standpoint, forcing individual to deal with it on a daily basis.
- The disability causes physical or emotional pain for the individual.
- No visible supports or medical aids are used by the individual to indicate the presence of the disability.
- The victim may manage the disability through medication or behavior.
Types of hidden disabilities
Hidden disabilities include various conditions that do not always manifest visual symptoms, such as:
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
- Traumatic brain injury
- Learning disabilities
- Autoimmune disorders such as lupus
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Cystic fibrosis
- Psychiatric conditions (bipolar disorder, major depression, schizophrenia)
- Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD)
- Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) or Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
The effect of hidden disabilities
Every sufferer of these conditions manifests symptoms in a different way. For example, an individual suffering long-term diabetes may have developed additional conditions such as loss of eyesight, diabetic neuropathy, or other serious ailments that inhibit the person from the ability to maintain employment on a continual basis. Another person suffering from lupus may experience debilitating symptoms on a periodic basis. The individual may feel healthy for a month and function relatively normally, but when these extremely debilitating symptoms manifest, he or she may experience them for weeks or months at a time.
Another example is an individual suffering a debilitating mental condition who may feel and act normal in familiar environments, such as in his or her home. However, outside of normal “comfort zones,” the individual may experience paranoia or severe anxiety.
Can I get benefits for a hidden disability?
Fortunately, the Social Security Administration (SSA) understands that invisible disabilities are a real issue with some people claiming disability benefits. Claims examiners at the agency are aware of some of the conditions sufferers of hidden disabilities can experience on a sporadic basis. Therefore, anyone suffering from one of these hidden conditions should not be hesitant to file for SSDI benefits.
Our Maryland Social Security Disability attorneys at Plaxen & Adler, P.A., understand the wide range of issues individuals with hidden disabilities may face. We also understand the potential obstacles to securing the disability benefits you deserve and are prepared to help you obtain these benefits. To set up a free case evaluation, give us a call today at 410.567.0243, or send us a message through our contact form.