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Social Security Disability Benefits: Discrimination

Even short-term illnesses, like the common cold, can make working a full day challenging. So imagine the difficulties an employee with sciatic nerve pain, diabetes, obesity, and depression experiences when trying to work. One man who has all of these conditions had to stop working in fast food management because his sciatic nerve pain made it impossible to stand or sit for extended lengths of time.

This man applied for Social Security disability benefits, like many others in his situation, and was denied benefits. He alleges that he saw a psychiatrist as part of the Social Security disability application process. The psychiatrist allegedly asked the man personal questions, and the man claims that after he mentioned that he is gay the psychiatrist's attitude changed and she became angry.

Like many others who have claims denied, the man appealed the denied claim. He claims he was again discriminated against by the judge who heard his case. The man alleges that the judge denied his claim because he is gay. In addition, the man claims the judge attributed the man's depression to being gay.

Every person's experience with the Social Security Administration when applying for disability benefits will differ. For this man, discrimination may have occurred because of his sexual identity. Others who apply for benefits may feel discriminated against for other reasons.

When a person feels that a denied disability claim is unfair, looking further into the case may be worthwhile. This man is still in the process of appealing his denied claim. So, while it may take some time to appeal a claim, seeking what one sees as just is important. Appealing a claim with the assistance of an experienced attorney will likely make the process less stressful.

Source: Between the Lines, "Disabled people need inclusive support," Crystal A. Proxmire, Oct. 25, 2012

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