Disability Benefits and Invisible Disabilities

Social Security Disability,

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Applying for Disability Benefits with Invisible Disabilities

Interviewer: I hear it’s Invisible Disabilities Week. Can you tell me more about that?

Christine Burnside: Absolutely. So Invisible Disabilities Week is a week to raise awareness of invisible disabilities, which are medical conditions that cause severe symptoms that you just can’t see by looking at someone.

Interviewer: Well, what advice would you give someone with an invisible disability that’s applying for disability benefits?

Christine Burnside: I think the most important thing that you can do is keep a log of your symptoms— because someone can’t see them just by looking at you, your medical provider can’t either. I can’t see if you’re having a migraine or if you’re in severe pain from fibromyalgia. I can’t see if your symptoms from Crohn’s disease are flaring, and so keep a diary, keep a journal, and then take that diary or journal into your doctor so that you can have a really consistent log. It’s also really hard to remember how many flares you had last month, so write it down.

Interviewer: Well, how can we support friends and family that have an invisible disability?

Christine Burnside: I think the biggest thing that you can do is believe them.

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