Invisible disabilities spark disbelief

On Behalf of | Dec 14, 2022 | ERISA Disability Benefits

A person who uses a wheelchair exclusively is easily identifiable as someone who has a right to accessible parking and other accessible environments. But someone who looks hale and hearty can still have a diagnosis of an “invisible disability.”

It’s these folks who often receive criticism from the public and even the owners of the businesses they patronize for using the very accommodations put in place for them. Those incidents are annoying and potentially embarrassing. But they pale in comparison to the experiences of those living with invisible disabilities when they file claims for disability benefits.

Do the courts give short shrift to those with invisible disabilities?

One would certainly hope they do not, that the disability courts are far more enlightened than that. But the fact remains that many people without disabilities can’t recognize certain disabling conditions for which the applicant is seeking benefits.

These conditions include the following – and more:

  • Crohn’s disease
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Attention deficit disorder (ADD)
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
  • Prosthetics
  • Arthritis
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Sleep disorders
  • Diabetes
  • Anxiety
  • Epilepsy
  • Mental health conditions
  • Autism
  • Learning differences

One “problem” with many of the above diagnoses is that people living with chronic, disabling conditions may not experience the same level of pain or require all their mobility aids and other accommodations every day. If you are familiar with the spoon theory, in which spoons represent units of energy people use to engage in everyday activities, you might understand why some days require more spoons than others.

Don’t walk unarmed into the lion’s den

It’s one thing to deal with an irate customer in a parking lot yelling that “you don’t look disabled!” It’s quite another to have an invisible disability claim denied because the date of your court appearance happened to be one of your better days.

If you’re having trouble claiming the disability benefits you need, experienced legal guidance can help.