Social Security Disability and Physical Appearances
A common concern we hear when talking to clients prior to their hearing is that they don’t “look disabled.” People are afraid that because their physical or mental impairments are not readily visible, they will have a harder time being approved. They worry without a wheelchair, or scars or a disheveled appearance, no one will believe them. Clients also frequently want to show the judge specific ailments in less visible places on their body during their hearing.
What’s important to keep in mind is that once your Social Security Disability claim has reached the hearing level, the judge is there to listen to everything you have to say. The judge is not there to make a gut decision at first sight. Each determination is based on many factors, including test results, doctors’ opinions and your testimony, none of which require the judge to actually see a disability.
The opportunity for a hearing is offered to you to provide a second chance to present personal details about the way their diagnoses affect your everyday life. A doctor can take tests and diagnosis illnesses, but only you can provide real insight into the way your problems come into play. You’re the only person who knows your pain level and the physical or mental discomfort that you feel. The best tool to have at a hearing is not any particular physical assistive device but rather a thorough explanation of the impact of the relevant disability on your everyday life.
As there are listings for impairments such as mental disorders, immune system disorders and cardiovascular disorders, claimant’s with disabilities not visible to the naked eye are approved all of the time. Do not feel the need to show up to your hearing with a cane if you don’t need one – your medical records and personal experience can be enough.