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For Social Security Disability, Hidden Conditions Just as Real

Many disabilities that leave people unable to work and seeking Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits are invisible. It's not obvious that they are living with conditions that keep them from working.

When people do not see that you are disabled, they may believe that you should not be receiving SSD benefits. This makes being disabled even more difficult.

A recent article in the Montgomery, Alabama, Advertiser describes the increase in the number of people receiving Social Security Disability benefits in recent years. In some counties in that state, more than 20 percent of working-age people receive SSD payments.

This growth and negative media stories (such as the one that aired recently on National Public Radio) make it extremely difficult for recipients with "invisible" disabilities. They experience prejudice and cruelty because at least some observers believe that recipients are getting benefits they don't deserve. Mainly false stories of fraud and abuse feed the public's belief that SSD recipients are fraudsters.

The case of one Alabama man illustrates the additional burden faced by people whose disabilities are below the surface. He suffers from debilitating migraines and diabetes. Because of the diabetes, he has lost sensation in his hands and feet. And a few years ago he was diagnosed with a benign brain tumor that could be contributing to his headaches.

He can no longer work as an electrician because of the migraines and because his lack of feeling in his hands and feet makes it impossible for him to climb ladders. However, he doesn't walk with a limp or use a cane, and seems fine during casual encounters.

He admits that under different circumstances he might think the same way as those who wonder whether he is really disabled. However, he says that for someone like him, SSD is a blessing and he is very glad to accept the benefits he earned when he was still able to work.

Do not hesitate to accept the SSD benefits you earned, whether your disability is invisible or readily obvious. If you are having trouble with your SSD claim, do what so many others have done over the years: Contact Binder & Binder®, America's most successful Social Security Disability advocates. Tell them your story and learn how they can help you.

Source: Montgomery Advertiser, "Disability crisis: Aid recipients fight stigma," May 5, 2013.

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