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What Disabilities Are Hard to Prove?

Navigating a disability claim can be a daunting journey, especially for those grappling with disabilities that are hard to prove. Conditions involving chronic pain and fatigue may pose significant challenges when it comes to providing tangible proof, as their symptoms are often subjective and fluctuate in nature. These invisible disabilities can be met with skepticism and disbelief, further complicating the validation process for individuals seeking recognition and support.

This blog post explores the complexities of proving disabilities that defy traditional diagnostic methods. We aim to guide and support those facing challenges in their disability claims. Let’s delve into what disabilities are hard to prove, shedding light on the complexities of their impact and proving their existence.

Chronic Pain

Chronic pain is a debilitating condition that affects millions of people worldwide. One of the main issues with chronic pain is its subjectivity. Unlike a broken bone or a visible injury, chronic pain is felt differently by everyone, making it challenging to quantify objectively. The lack of concrete tests or imaging to measure pain levels adds another layer of complexity when trying to prove the severity of this condition.

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For those living with chronic pain, the impact on daily life can be profound. Simple tasks that others may take for granted, like getting out of bed or walking to the store, can become monumental challenges. The invisible nature of chronic pain can lead to skepticism and disbelief, making it even harder for individuals to convey the true extent of their suffering.


Fibromyalgia is a complex disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain, fatigue, and cognitive difficulties. One of the primary obstacles in proving fibromyalgia-related disability is the lack of definitive diagnostic tests. Diagnosis often relies on reported symptoms and physical examination, making it inherently subjective.

Symptoms like fatigue and cognitive issues can be particularly challenging to quantify for disability claims. How does one measure the impact of persistent fatigue on the ability to work or the daily cognitive fog that clouds the mind? These subjective experiences can be challenging to convey to others, leading to difficulties in proving the disabling effects of fibromyalgia.

Mental Health Conditions

The stigma surrounding mental health can create significant barriers for individuals seeking recognition and understanding of their conditions. Conditions like depression or anxiety, which may not have tangible physical symptoms, are often met with skepticism or invalidated by those who cannot see the inner struggles individuals face.

RELATED POST: Does A Mental Health Limitation Apply to My Claim for LTD Benefits?

The variability of symptoms further complicates the situation, as mental health conditions can manifest differently from person to person. This variability makes it challenging to measure the impact of these conditions on daily functioning objectively, adding another layer of complexity to proving the existence and severity of mental health disabilities.

Migraine Headaches

Migraine headaches, a familiar yet often invisible disability, can significantly impair an individual’s quality of life. Unlike visible injuries or conditions, migraines occur internally and may not be outwardly evident to others. Proving the existence and impact of migraine headaches can be challenging, as symptoms vary widely among sufferers and may not always be visible or easily quantifiable. The fluctuating nature of migraines adds another layer of complexity to proving their debilitating effects on daily living.

Navigating the complexities of invisible disabilities requires a nuanced understanding of the unique challenges they present. By shedding light on conditions like mental health disorders, dyslexia, and migraines, we can begin to recognize the validity and impact of these invisible disabilities on individuals’ lives.

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)

A traumatic brain injury (TBI) can have lasting effects on cognitive functions, impacting memory, attention, and problem-solving skills. These effects may manifest differently in everyone, making it challenging to predict or diagnose the full extent of the cognitive impairments stemming from a TBI.

One of the significant hurdles in proving TBI-related disabilities lies in diagnosing subtle cognitive impairments. These impairments may not be immediately apparent and could require specialized tests and evaluations to uncover them, adding a layer of complexity to documenting the disability.

Proving the impact of TBI on daily activities can be intricate, as the symptoms and limitations can fluctuate over time. This variability makes it harder to provide concrete evidence of the disability’s effects on an individual’s ability to perform routine tasks and engage in daily activities.

Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS)

Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS) is a group of genetic connective tissue disorders that affect the skin, joints, and blood vessels, among other systems in the body. The complexities of diagnosing EDS lie in its broad spectrum of symptoms, which can vary significantly from person to person. This variability can make it challenging to pinpoint a definitive diagnosis. Additionally, EDS is multi-systemic, affecting various body parts and further complicating the diagnostic process. Proving the disability’s impact can be difficult due to the fluctuating nature of symptoms and the lack of widely accepted diagnostic criteria in some cases.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), or myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME), is a complex disorder characterized by extreme fatigue that is not explained by any underlying medical condition. The diagnostic challenges of CFS stem from the lack of specific tests to confirm the condition, leading to debates around its etiology and recognition as a legitimate medical condition. Individuals with CFS often face difficulties in proving the disabling nature of their symptoms, as fatigue is a subjective experience that may not always manifest physically. This subjective nature of fatigue can make it challenging to quantify and demonstrate the impact of CFS on daily functioning.

How Can I Qualify with a Disability That Is Hard to Prove?

If you’re struggling to qualify for disability benefits due to a hard-to-prove disability, don’t lose hope. Even if your initial application was rejected, there are ways to improve your chances. Here are steps to increase your chances of proving your disability and getting the support you need.

Medical Documentation is Key

Having thorough and detailed medical documentation is crucial when applying for disability benefits, especially for conditions that are harder to prove. Stay consistent with treatment and collect updates from your healthcare providers on your condition’s progress. Make sure to document all your medical appointments, treatments, and medications. Providing as much information as possible about your condition can strengthen your case.

Consult with Specialists

Seeking the opinion of specialists who have experience with your specific disability can also help validate your condition. Specialists can provide expert insight and documentation that can support your disability claim.

If possible, obtain an assessment supporting your inability to work due to your disability. Have your doctor complete a Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) form to document your physical and mental capabilities.

Describe Your Symptoms Effectively

When explaining your disability to medical professionals and during the application process, it’s essential to describe your symptoms clearly and in detail. Focus on how your disability impacts your daily life, your ability to work, and your overall well-being.

Be Persistent and Patient

Proving a harder-to-confirm disability may require more effort and time. It’s essential to be patient throughout the process and to persist in providing the necessary documentation and information to support your claim. Keep detailed records of all your communication and interactions related to your disability claim.

If your claim is denied, consider seeking legal assistance from professionals experienced in disability law. A knowledgeable attorney can guide you through the process and advocate on your behalf to help you secure the benefits you deserve.

Qualifying for disability benefits with a more difficult-to-prove disability may present obstacles. Still, it is possible to navigate the process successfully with perseverance, thorough documentation, and proper support. By taking proactive steps and seeking the necessary help, you can increase your chances of qualifying for the support you need.

Get Help with Your Disability Claim

Remember, your experiences are valid, and you have the right to access the resources and accommodations you need. Stay proactive and resilient, and know you are not alone in this journey. Ortiz Law Firm is a national disability law firm, and we understand the challenges involved in long-term disability or Social Security Disability claims for conditions that are more difficult to prove. If you would like to schedule a free case review to learn more about how we can help with your claim, call us at (888) 321-8131.