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Invisible disabilities: not all in your head

As one of the countless Americans suffering from conditions that are not immediately apparent to others, you are fighting a constant battle – not only the battle to have your illness recognized as a disability, but a fight to be heard and understood by those who may not take you seriously because they cannot see you suffering. This is the heartbreaking reality for you and many other Missouri residents.

Yes, an invisible disability can be as devastating, both physically and emotionally, as a condition others can perceive with their eyes. To qualify as a disability for Social Security benefits, your condition would need to significantly impact your ability to work. This can include either physical impairments or mental limitations that make it difficult or impossible to hold a job.

What exactly is an invisible disability? The following are a few examples:

  • A disease the medical field does not fully understand, such as fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome. The symptoms often manifest differently in patients and can be difficult to diagnose and treat.
  • An emotional or mental condition, such as bipolar disorder or autism. Chronic depression and post-traumatic stress disorder can also make it extremely difficult to work, due to intense feelings of anxiety and distress in ordinary situations.
  • A widely recognized physical ailment that is not outwardly apparent, such as Crohn’s disease, Lyme disease or lupus. Many of these conditions are understood by the medical community and may be treatable, but some may not be curable and can be permanently disabling.

It is rarely easy to be approved for Social Security disability benefits, especially if your condition is not easily apparent to others or widely accepted by the medical community. It can be discouraging and disheartening when others assume you are making up your pain. At this time, the support and understanding of a competent disability lawyer may be essential.