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Tucson Social Security Disability Blog

Is Fair To Judge Who Is Disabled By Their Appearance?

Posted by John Kuhnlein | Dec 17, 2020 | 0 Comments

A writer named Andrew Pulrang published a very thoughtful piece in Forbes about how society perceives the disabled. Specifically, Pulrang discusses how so many people who are able-bodied feel the need to determine who is disabled. This pertains mostly to those persons who are not obviously disabled. No one

Your Struggle Is My Struggle

would dispute the status of a woman in a wheelchair and on oxygen, for example. But what about another woman who seems to be walking fine and has no apparent signs of infirmity? Should the rest of us judge her for claiming to be disabled?

Parking Lots And Service Animals

As Pulrang writes, a lot of this judgment takes place in parking lots. For some reason, it deeply bothers abled people to see someone use a handicapped parking spot unless we can immediately detect the source of that person's disability. Another good example is service animals. Once more, unless the dog is leading a blind person, there is an ugly tendency to think that the dog owner is abusing her right to have a service animal.

Are They All Fakers?

People extrapolated from this to conclude that some or most or all Social Security disability recipients are outright fakers, or at least milking the system for financial gain. This thinking is still quite common, despite evidence to the contrary.

Suggestions For Doing Better

Pulrang offers some suggestions for doing better. These include expanding what we think of as disabling conditions and then not making uninformed decisions

Be Better Than You Are

about who is disabled. Pulrang further notes that we would be wise to believe that the people involved in determining who is disabled are doing a competent job. It adds little to the discussion to write off all the lawyers and judges and everyone else at Social Security disability as being fools who are conned by fraudsters. That kind of cynicism is toxic.

Judge Not. . .

The next time you have to walk a few extra yards in a parking lot, don't judge the person using the handicap spot. He could be faking, sure. But, I strongly suspect that he would trade places with you and gladly walk, free of pain, no matter the distance.

Another Interesting Take

The New York Times ran an article by a disabled psychologist with a similar theme that is also well worth reading.

Taken together, these articles are must-reads for the disabled and the abled alike. 

About the Author

John Kuhnlein

Since 1992, I have been helping the people of Southern Arizona get the benefits they are due. Before devoting all my efforts to assisting people with Social Security disability claims, I also handled such complex lawsuits as medical malpractice and products liability. I brought to my Social Security cases all the skills and attention to detail that I developed in the courtroom. I approach each Social Security disability case as if it were a million-dollar lawsuit. For the people trying to get Social Security benefits, their claim is every bit as important. Because I have personally handled so many Social Security cases, I have refined the skills I need to win your case for you. I have helped people win cases for every kind of ailment from arthritis to valley fever. At present, I am focused on helping those persons with neurological and orthopedic disorders. Because claims for people over age fifty bring additional complications, I particularly seek out those cases to work on. I regularly write about back and spine conditions on my blog. I actively seek out the latest information about orthopedic and neurological disorders to ensure I can represent my clients as effectively as possible. Because of my current focus, I regret that I am not able to take any cases for mental disorders. If you are over age fifty and suffer from any orthopedic or neurological disorder, please contact me at once.


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John Kuhnlein has been assisting people with Social Security disability claims for the past 25+ years.

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