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Can I Still Get Disability Benefits If I Have an “Invisible” Disability?


Some people with disabilities don’t have to explain their condition to others; they just know. Wheelchairs, canes, hearing aids—these devices can all clue people into the knowledge that the person using them has a disability, and appropriate accommodations can be made without ever having to discuss it.

But other disabilities are less visible. That doesn’t make them less real or less disabling.

Known often as “invisible” disabilities, these conditions aren’t easy to spot simply by looking at a person. “Invisible” disabilities take the trained eye of a medical professional to properly diagnose. These disabilities can be just as difficult to bear as more visible disabilities.

There are different types of “invisible” disabilities. Depending on what kind of “invisible” disability you suffer from, you may be a good candidate to apply for Social Security disability benefits. What matters is whether or not your disability is on Social Security’s Listing of Impairments, which is a list of different disabilities that Social Security already considers severe enough to prevent an individual from being able to work.

“Invisible” Physical Disabilities


You may think that the term “invisible physical disability” is contradictory. After all, if a disability is physical, wouldn’t you be able to see it?

That’s not always the case. Consider people who suffer from heart problems or respiratory illnesses. Although these may become visible when the person is suffering from some kind of an attack or flare-up, these disabilities are often “invisible” in a person’s day-to-day life.

Some “invisible” physical disabilities on the Listing of Impairments include but are not limited to:

  • Some visual disorders
  • Asthma
  • Chronic pulmonary hypertension
  • Recurrent arrhythmias
  • Endocrine disorders

With “invisible” physical disabilities, it’s important to detach the idea of disability from the reality of being wheelchair-bound. Just because a person isn’t using a wheelchair or a cane of some sort doesn’t mean that they aren’t physically disabled.

“Invisible” Mental Disabilities


Although mental health issues are still “invisible” because they aren’t typically apparent to others at a first glance, mental health issues are becoming less “invisible” in today’s culture. As more people discuss their struggles with depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues, the stigma around mental health is lifting.

Many mental health issues are on the Listing of Impairments, meaning you may be a good candidate for disability benefits. These “invisible” mental health issues on the Listing of Impairments include but are not limited to:

  • Major depressive disorder
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Dementia brought on by Alzheimer disease
  • Schizophrenia
  • Autism
  • Various eating disorders

Which “Invisible” Disabilities Aren’t on the Listing of Impairments?


Some “invisible” disabilities are not included on the Listing of Impairments. This makes it more difficult to get approved for Social Security disability benefits, though by no means impossible. Some of these include but are not limited to:

Because these aren’t on the Listing of Impairments, it is essential to your case that you are able to prove that your disability prevents you from working and engaging in substantial gainful activity (SGA). This means you’ll need extensive medical documentation from your doctor regarding your disability.

If you suffer from a condition not included on the Listing of Impairments, don’t lose hope. Remember that when evaluating your case, Social Security looks at all of the conditions you suffer from, not just one. If you have a combination of disorders—if, for example, you suffer from fibromyalgia as well as post-traumatic stress disorder and asthma—you may be more likely to get approved than you think.

Help from an Indiana Disability Attorney

Your disability may be “invisible,” but that doesn’t mean that it’s not real. Many “invisible” disabilities are included on Social Security’s Listing of Impairments. Even if yours isn’t, that doesn’t mean you can’t still get approved for Social Security disability benefits.

No matter where you are in the approval process—whether you’re interested in filing an initial application or you’re waiting for your final hearing—Hensley Legal Group can help. Call us today or contact us online for a free consultation.