Warhawk lobbies for more knowledge on disabilities

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The disability determination process has become a controversial issue in todays society.

According to the federal government, the Social Security Administration defines disability as any condition that is severe enough to rule out a person’s ability to work and earn a livable income. The problem that I am aiming at is not only the way the Social Security Administration defines disability but how the representation of disability is stopping individuals from becoming eligible in receiving disability benefits.

There are a lot of standards that need to be met in order to qualify for Social Security Disability. Before I begin to inform you on the process, I want to share my reasoning behind choosing this policy issue. My mom has been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis for many years, but a simple diagnosis will not get an approval for benefits. The National Multiple Sclerosis Society states when defining diagnosis, “Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system that disrupts the flow of information within the brain, and between the brain and body”. With my mom’s diagnosis, it can be draining to work a full-time job.

With that being said, she decided to apply for disability benefits. My mom was denied twice before she finally qualified as eligible. My family and I found this to be very frustrating due to the process being very time consuming. Having to go through it more than once made it even more infuriating.  In order to become eligible, here are some of the regulations that must apply according to DDS Claims Examiner Tim Moore for Social Security Disability in North Carolina.

The individuals condition must be documented by medical evidence, the condition must last at least one full year and the condition must impose physical or mental limitations, meaning that it eliminates the ability to go back to former jobs

In some circumstances, one may be denied services due to the following:

Too much income – meaning that if one is earning too much money, it is difficult to be considered disabled.  This happened to be the reason my mom got denied, which resulted in her being hesitant about going back to working part time because she didn’t want to lose her benefits.

Other reasons include lack of medical evidence, the disability isn’t severe enough, work history, conviction of a crime and/or if your disability is based on addiction

In my opinion, the staff that approves these certain policies need to be educated on what should qualify as a disability. For instance, autoimmune diseases and mental health issues that are not visual need to be taken into consideration.

Thus, I am asking readers to create an approach that will educate society on the different types of disabilities in hopes of making a positive alteration to the Social Security Disability process. 

—Nicole Gentile,

UW-Whitewater student