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Invisible Disabilities Present Added Challenges to New Yorkers

New York City Workers' CompensationSocial Security Disability benefits are supposed to be available to all New Yorkers who are so disabled they cannot work. These benefits may be provided to low-income individuals through Supplemental Security Income (SSI) regardless of work history, or to people who have worked and paid into Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) regardless of income.

Social Security Disability attorneys in New York know that it is very difficult for any disabled person to qualify and receive benefits through the Social Security Administration even though those benefits should be available to those with legitimate long-term conditions. The SSA has taken such a strict approach to fighting fraud that less than half of applications are approved and many people who deserve benefits end up going without them.

Many of the people who have a hard time getting SSD benefits also have a more difficult time in other situations where they may need special accommodations due to their conditions. This is because these individuals have a so-called "invisible" disability.

People with an Invisible Disability Face Added Challenges

National Public Radio (NRP) recently reported on the unique struggles that are faced by people with an "invisible" disability. An invisible disability is a medical condition that, unlike being in a wheel chair or having a cane, may not be immediately apparent to others around them. Examples can include conditions like Crohn's disease (an inflammatory bowel condition), fibromyalgia, lupus, bipolar disorder, and diabetes, among many other problems. Millions of Americans may suffer form these disabling conditions, although it is difficult to get an accurate picture of just how many people have an invisible disability.

These "invisible" conditions can be severely disabling. People may experience chronic pain, intense fatigue, and an inability to function in doing daily activities. However, because they do not fit the classic stereotype of what it means to be disabled, the severity of their condition can be underestimated not just by employers and people in the community, but also by doctors and even by evaluators for the Social Security Administration who are helping to determine if someone should receive benefits.

People with invisible disabilities report having people become angry when they parked in handicap spaces and having difficulty getting accommodations that may be available much more readily to people with more obvious disabilities. This is an especially big problem when it comes to finding a job.

In employment discrimination cases filed between 2005 and 2010, for example, the conditions that were cited most commonly in disability discrimination claims were for invisible disabilities. Employers were more likely to engage in discriminatory behavior or refuse to make reasonable accommodations for people with medical conditions that were impairing, but not obvious. This makes it even more difficult for people with invisible disabilities to work and thus even more important for them to be eligible for Social Security benefits if they are unable to find employment due to their severe medical ailments.

If you have suffered a disability in New York, contact the Law Offices of Pasternack Tilker Ziegler Walsh Stanton & Romano, LLP today by calling (800) 692-3717 or by visiting