Category: Helping Hands Blog
Published: Monday, 02 June 2014 13:33
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Young LadyInvisible Disabilities

There are some people you could look at and swear that nothing was wrong with them. Yet some are suffering pain and sickness that you could never even think about hiding, much less endure on a daily basis like they do. These people live their lives with hidden or invisible disabilities.

 Consider my wife. One of the characteristics that attracted me to her was her inner strength. Before I met her as a young lady she had already undergone several surgeries but was determined to live her life to its fullest potential, not letting her physical maladies get the better of her. As a paramedic she helped carry stretchers that were often burdened with not-so-light people. She saw things that would put the movies to shame yet came home ready to go back to work for another shift. She made friends wherever she went. Some of our greatest memories are putting some extra clothes in the car and going on a day or two excursion to wherever the road led.

But her strong character was a downfall when it came to doctors and receiving needed medical treatment. In her daily life she was determined that no one would know how badly she hurt. This characteristic spilled over in the medical exam rooms. Doctors would not believe when she complained of pain. They told her to her face that she was lying or that she had mental instability. It was only after I stood up to the doctors and forced them to do their job that they removed two grape-fruit sized tumors from her abdomen. When the pain returned the doctors again did not believe her until, once again, they were forced to do their job and found massive adhesions binding down her intestines and other abdominal organs causing so much damage that a section of her colon had to be removed.

My wife has had nearly twenty major surgeries and medical procedures, an average of one per year. Despite that extensive history and a verified medical record that is inches thick she is still being told that her pain is a mental problem. She just needs to “find her happy place” and she’ll be alright.

When someone’s medical problems are externally visible it’s easy to believe that they are suffering. We can hear and see someone struggle to breathe when they have lung cancer, severe asthma or a host of other respiratory problems. We can look at charts and tests and imagery to see if someone’s heart is not working right. But when it comes to hidden maladies it seems the medical profession breaks down. Since doctors do not know what to do to relieve symptoms they tend to blame the patient.

So it is with Social Security disability benefits. It is well-known that benefits for initial applications are granted or denied based on how well someone’s illness fits within a specific set of printed parameters. If you are seeking disability benefits and your specific case does not meet the book you are denied. That is why your greatest chance of winning benefits is before an administrative law judge at a disability hearing. It is at that hearing that a person, for the first time, who has the ability to award or deny benefits physically looks at you and listens to your story.

If you have hidden disabilities it is extremely important to have a knowledgeable person assist you at this critical juncture in your pursuit of disability benefits. This is your one opportunity to be able to explain the hidden disabilities that hold you back and prevent you from living a life without pain, without suffering and without people saying you are crazy. A good lawyer knows how to ask proper questions that enable you to illustrate your problems and lay them out in a coherent and tangible way before the judge. Just to get to the appeals hearing usually takes many long months, possibly even a couple of years. You’ve been heroic up to now, but now is not the time for heroics.


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About the Cochran Firm Disability Lawyers

Recognized as one of the nation’s premier law firms, The Cochran Firm handles cases on behalf of clients seeking a Personal Injury Lawyer, Criminal Defense, Medical Malpractice, Bankruptcy Attorney in Atlanta or Social Security Disability Lawyer.The Firm can be reached at 1-800-THE-FIRM (1-800-843-3476) or fill out the form on this page. “Working for You.” Article by Guest Blogger Tim Alexander.