Woman with invisible illness.

What to Know About “Invisible Illnesses” and Social Security Disability

We can often tell that someone is struggling simply by looking at them. For instance, if we see someone with a cane we can likely assume that they are using it to help them walk or stand. But a common misconception is that if someone is sick you will be able to tell; this is not true. Sometimes even serious illnesses are “invisible.” While people seem to understand that we must provide accommodations for individuals with visible illnesses, don’t we also have to provide the same for those with invisible illnesses? Put simply, yes.

Even those with disabilities that can’t be seen may be extremely impacted by their condition. In fact, invisible illnesses can often impact individuals as much – if not more in some cases – than visible ones. 

What Are Invisible Illnesses?

Invisible illnesses are conditions that can’t be detected in blood or with diagnostics. We are unable to see the associated symptoms of invisible illnesses. What’s more, invisible illnesses often accompany chronic conditions; many of them are correlated. In fact, 96 percent of those with chronic conditions have invisible illnesses.  

Which types of issues are indicative of invisible illnesses to those living with them? These include:

  • Mental health disorders
  • Hearing/vision impairment
  • Difficulty learning
  • Fatigue
  • Cognitive dysfunction 
  • Incapacitating pain
  • Brain injuries
  • Dizziness

Invisible Illnesses Recognized by the SSA

Some of the conditions that the Social Security Administration (SSA) has approved as invisible illnesses include:

  • Chronic pain
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Renal failure
  • Sleep Disorders
  • Epilepsy
  • Lupus
  • Multiple sclerosis (MS)
  • HIV/AIDS
  • Cancer
  • Diabetes
  • Chronic dizziness
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Arthritis
  • Major depressive episodes
  • Anxiety
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Schizophrenia
  • Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
  • Workplace stress

Are You Eligible for SSD Benefits?

It’s important to understand that just because you suffer from one of the above invisible illnesses, it doesn’t mean that you automatically qualify for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits. You have to prove that your invisible condition is what prevents you from doing your work. In other words, you may qualify for SSD benefits if:

  1. It is expected that your disability will last at least one year or will cause your death;
  2. Your disability prevents you from doing any kind of work; and
  3. You are under a doctor’s care, are compliant with a treatment plan, and are willing to participate in recovery (whenever possible).

Individuals who are living with an invisible illness are encouraged to seek documentation that makes note of their symptoms, limitations, restrictions, and how severe the illness is. If the documents also share how the condition impacts your ability to work, that’s even better as it helps to serve as evidence on your behalf.

The Las Vegas SSD Attorneys at Roeschke Law, LLC Can Help

If you or a loved one is struggling with a disability that prevents the ability to work, you may not know how to proceed. Fortunately, the attorneys at Roeschke Law, LLC can help. We understand the impact that a disability can have on your physical, emotional, and financial health. That’s why it’s our mission to help you. To learn more, or to schedule a consultation, contact us today!