What Does it Take to Prove an Invisible Disability to Be Eligible for Benefits?

September 14, 2021
Dayes Law Firm

Not all disabilities are visually apparent or obvious. These conditions are known as invisible disabilities. An invisible disability can be serious and debilitating enough that an individual cannot work or perform day-to-day activities.

Invisible disabilities are also harder to prove if you are applying for disability benefits. A licensed Social Security Disability lawyer based in Phoenix is ready to make a strong case for benefits if you suffer from an invisible disability. We are well-versed in the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) financial and medical criteria and know what it takes to get a disability claim approved.

Schedule a free, no-obligation consultation to find out how we may be able to help. There are no upfront fees involved. We do not get paid unless you do.

Here 24/7 to take your call: 1-800-503-2000

What is Considered an Invisible Disability?

An invisible disability includes any physical, mental or neurological conditions that are not visible from the outside. Those suffering from invisible disabilities are often accused of faking their conditions because they are not visibly obvious. Despite their invisibility, these disabilities can have a profound effect on an individual’s ability to hold down a job or carry out day-to-day tasks.

According to the Invisible Disabilities Association, those living with an invisible disability can experience symptoms such as:

  • Brain trauma
  • Cognitive dysfunctions
  • Debilitating pain
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Hearing and vision issues
  • Learning differences
  • Mental health disorders

For instance, disabilities associated with chronic pain, cognitive disorders or extreme fatigue can manifest without any visible evidence and can significantly limit daily functions and activities.  

What Are Some Common Invisible Disabilities?

Some conditions classified as invisible disabilities include, but are not limited to:

Chronic Pain

Many conditions can lead to chronic pain. Physical injuries, bone disease, back problems, inflammatory arthritis and joint issues can cause constant, debilitating pain. Chronic pain can be difficult for others to understand since they cannot easily see evidence that a condition exists. However, chronic pain can impair one’s ability to be productive on a daily basis.

Mental Illnesses

Mental illnesses are mostly invisible unless the symptoms are extreme. Suffering from depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), schizophrenia, attention deficit disorder (ADHD) or another mental illness can interfere with one’s ability to carry out daily tasks in an effective manner.


Fibromyalgia is a well-known invisible disability that causes chronic musculoskeletal pain and can make completing daily tasks especially painful. This condition is often associated with arthritis, even though it involves pain in the muscles versus joints. Fibromyalgia is often difficult to diagnose because its symptoms can mimic other conditions, and there is no specific test to diagnose it. 

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Individuals suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome feel exhausted or inexplicably tired on a constant basis. Symptoms include muscle pain, headaches and sleep issues. This condition can be very debilitating and affect every aspect of one’s life, including the ability to perform work-related duties and day-to-day activities.

Lyme Disease

Lyme Disease is also not easily detected by an individual’s outward appearance. It is a bacterial infection caused by an infected tick bite. The duration and severity of symptoms (i.e. fever, headache, fatigue and skin rash) can be debilitating and affect one’s ability to work and perform everyday tasks.

Eligibility for Benefits With an Invisible Disability

Most of the invisible disabilities above are in the SSA’s Blue Book (a comprehensive list of impairments) and covered by the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program. For conditions not explicitly listed, you may still be eligible for disability benefits through a residual functional capacity (RFC) assessment.

The RFC is a form that must be completed by your treating doctor. He or she must explain your ability or inability to perform work-related tasks or keep and maintain a job. The SSA will carry out an assessment of your capacity to do basic work activities to determine the extent of your disabling condition.  

For instance, say you suffer from chronic pain that allows you to perform certain sedentary work, such as sitting at a desk and typing. However, you require the need for extra rest and cannot work over a number of hours per day. The SSA will use this information to see if there is any work you can safely perform.

It is important that your RFC assessment include sufficient medical evidence to help prove how your condition makes it difficult for you to work, such as:

  • Detailed written statements and evaluations from your treating doctor
  • Medical records that confirm your diagnosis and the extent of your condition
  • History of treatment, which may include surgery and/or therapy
  • List of medications and any resulting side effects from medications

Dayes Law Firm is Here to Help. Give Us a Call

If you suffer from an invisible disability and need help applying for benefits or filing an appeal, contact Dayes Law Firm for help today. We have in-depth knowledge of the Social Security Disability process and understand the many challenges claimants experience in proving that they have a real, true disability.

An initial consultation with a member of our legal team comes at no risk, cost or obligation to you. We charge nothing unless we obtain benefits on your behalf.

Free Case Review. Ph: 1-800-503-2000