Even though we've been in this business for decades, we often have clients with disabilities that aren't well known, and can't been seen on an x-ray or a scan. For instance, a client came to us with a disability of Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome ("CVS"). This particular syndrome is results in severe nausea and vomiting that often lasts for days. It has no known cause or cure. Every few weeks, this client would suffer from episodes of constant vomiting, lasting for 2 to 3 days at a time. He also suffered from intermittent bouts of vomiting every week, often as many as 15 additional episodes. It's not hard to see why he wasn't able to continue working.
Unfortunately, CVS, like many other impairments, is not obvious. While it can be accompanied by symptoms of extreme fatigue and loss of appetite, the complaints are often subjective. In other words, the symptoms can be felt and experienced by the individual, but aren't really visible or able to be proven by a doctor. What exactly does this mean? Well, for example, it's easy for a doctor to see and diagnose cancers through blood work and scans. But, it's not as easy to "see" severe nausea and constant fatigue. And, there is no specific test to diagnose CVS. Rather, a doctor would need to rule out other conditions that could produce the same symptoms.
Because this client's impairment is one that is very hard to prove, his claim was denied when he appeared before an Administrative Law Judge. Even though he delivered strong testimony at his hearing, he didn't have an "official" diagnosis and the Social Security Administration refused to find him disabled. Although this client's impairment was not as obvious on paper as other clients' impairments may be, we didn't turn him away when he was denied. We appealed the unfavorable decisions and kept appealing while obtaining as much medical support from his treating doctors as possible. In the end, our client was granted a Fully Favorable decision and received his Social Security Disability benefits.
Not all disabilities are obvious. But, at Binder & Binder®, we fight for our client's benefits, even when it means putting in the extra time and work to help make the not-so-obvious impairments a little more obvious.