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Do some disabilities get a bad rap from federal lawmakers?

Everyone agrees that Social Security disability insurance benefits should go to deserving recipients. Workers who have paid into the system but can no longer work due to a disability should not hesitate to apply for SSDI payments in their time of need. However, federal lawmakers seem to disagree about the process of identifying deserving SSDI beneficiaries. 

One lawmaker’s remarks were recently captured on video. The lawmaker purportedly characterized half of the existing SSDI beneficiaries as not really disabled, suffering only from minor conditions like backaches or mild anxiety. Unfortunately, it's not the first time that the SSDI program has been criticized.

Yet an attorney that focuses on disability law knows that back injuries and anxiety disorder can be truly debilitating. Yes, they are among some of the most common types of disabilities in SSDI applications, but for good reason. 

A lower back injury, such as a ruptured disk, can interfere with the mobility needed to perform everyday living tasks, as well as job functions. Even after physical therapy or surgeries, the recovery might be incomplete. Fortunately, diagnostic imaging may help to document the electrical nerve root activity, proving that there is a cause for any ongoing pain.

Anxiety disorder also has good reason to be prevalent: It refers to a number of different disorders of the nervous system. Panic disorder, various anxieties and even post-traumatic stress disorder might fall under this diagnosis. As with back injuries, anxiety disorder can also be difficult to treat. Yet the fearful and irrational emotions it produces can truly interfere with an individual’s ability to work.

Fortunately, the Social Security Administration does acknowledge back injuries and anxiety disorder in its list of disabilities. With the help of an attorney, an applicant for SSDI benefits can assemble the documentation and medical evidence needed to present a compelling picture of impairment.

Source: Politico, "Republicans target Social Security disability," David Rogers, Jan. 20, 2015

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