Disability Lawyers on The Stigma of Disability
As disability lawyers, the RGG Law team knows how difficult life can be when you are living with a disability severe enough that you need social security disability. Whether your disability is related to physical or mental health, if it is debilitating enough to prevent you from working, or even functioning day-to-day, life is a challenge.
But there is another aspect to living with a disability, and on social security disability, that can be even more difficult to deal with – the stigma. As unpleasant as it is to admit, many people have a negative view of people who end up in need of public assistance, whatever their reason might be. RGG explores some of the negativity often aimed at SSDI benefits, and those who use them.
The Myth of the Freeloader
The accusation of being a “freeloader” or “living off the state” is one of the most common levied against people who use public assistance. Disability lawyers often hear stories of people in genuine need being accused of being lazy or living off their tax money. The, unfortunately, pervasive idea that social security disability benefits are easy to apply for, and that the system is easy to abuse, is partly where this idea comes from.
For any disability lawyer, or anyone currently using social security benefits, it is clear that this is not the case. Any social security benefits application goes through a system of testing and assessment to ensure that the applicant is eligible. The fact that disability lawyers, like those at RGG Law, are in the business of helping people apply is evidence that these benefits are not easy to qualify for. Symptoms must be of a specific severity, verified by doctors and other medical experts, and proven beyond doubt. If those living on social security disability were as “lazy” as some suggest, it hardly seems like the application process would be worth the effort.
The Stigma of Disability Itself
One of the hardest facts to accept about disability as a whole is that it can carry its own stigma. A fear or dislike or someone who is different in a way that is physically different is still discouragingly common, and some living with more obvious physical disabilities will have experienced this first hand.
However, a more insidious form of discrimination that many disability lawyers see is attached to so-called “invisible” disabilities. Mental health issues that are debilitating, either through severity or lack of treatment, are an increasingly common reason for social security disability applications. Unfortunately, when a disability is less outwardly obvious, questions from critics of the system will arise.
“What’s wrong with you?”, or “You look fine to me” are comments that arise from a misunderstanding of how severe mental health issues can be, or even the false idea that they can be cured by “pulling yourself together” or are simply nonexistent, are extremely disheartening. For someone suffering severe, chronic depression or a similar illness, accusations of misusing a system for people with “real problems” can cause hidden, long-term damage.
How Do You Avoid the Negative Perception?
How can social security disability applicants or disability lawyers avoid the negative connotations of using public assistance? Unfortunately, it is impossible to convince everybody that this kind of assistance is needed, justified, difficult to even get in the first place, and so on. The stigma of living on public assistance is deeply ingrained in modern culture, and educating others about the real need and usefulness of such a system is an uphill battle.
It is education, however, that is the key to changing the views of others. If you are applying for social security disability, or are currently receiving it and have found yourself the victim of negative comments or harassment, remember that this negativity comes from a misunderstanding. You should also keep in mind that it is important not to base your own self-worth on society at large. You do not need to educate anyone and everyone on why and how you qualify – acceptance and support from family, friends, and any legal or medical professionals who are helping you day-to-day are what matters.
Disability Lawyers on the Reality of Benefits
The disability lawyers at RGG Law want to reassure you that, as professionals in this field, we know the truth about social security disability. The support system is there for a reason, and if you are applying, then you are someone in need. Our legal experts can help you navigate the complicated process of application, and make sure the safety net is securely in place below you. If you need help, contact RGG Law today.