Does A Facial Disfigurement Or Deformity Qualify For Disability Benefits?

A severe facial disfigurement can be an actual disability. Facial deformities, whether they are the result of a birth defect, disease, or an accident, can make it difficult to find easy employment. Can you, however, qualify for Social Security disability benefits based on a facial disfigurement? This is what you should know.

You face inherent prejudices by others.

While a lot of progress has been made through the use of prosthetics, plastic surgery, and even such incredible innovations as face transplants, the reality is that most people who have facial deformities have to contend with constant discrimination. 

Psychological studies report that people react to someone with a facial disfigurement with the same fear-avoidance that they show toward someone with a disease. While this isn't your fault, it's the reality that you have to contend with when you're trying to find a job. You may encounter prejudices that are unspoken–in fact, studies indicate that people might not even be consciously aware of their prejudices against the deformed.

You may also suffer psychological trauma.

Because of the difficulty of interacting with others and constantly contending with the negative reactions by others, many people who have facial deformities also suffer from psychological issues, such as anxiety and depression. In particular, up to 70% of people who have suffered facial trauma through injury or disease, experience psychological damage as well. 

You need to make Social Security aware of all factors.

Social Security does recognize severe facial disfigurement or deformity as a type of disability. However, if you file for benefits, it's important to make Social Security aware of all of the different ways in which your disfigurement affects you. Social Security will evaluate all aspects of your condition together when making its determination. You cannot assume that Social Security will make the leap in understanding that your disfigurement affects your speech or mental state simply by looking at your disfigurement.

For example, if your disfigurement affects your jaw, you may have difficulty communicating easily with others because of impaired speech. It's important that you list communication difficulties as one of your disabling conditions when you file for benefits. If you suffer from anxiety and depression as a result of either your disfigurement or the reactions that others have toward you, you need to list that as a disabling condition as well.

Not listing each aspect of your condition as it affects your livelihood is a mistake that often leads to the denial of disability claims. Social Security simply will not automatically take something into consideration unless you ask them to do so. 

If you're struggling with your application for disability benefits due to a facial disfigurement and you don't understand why your Social Security claim keeps getting denied, talk to an attorney like Michael P Boyle in your area today. He or she can review your claim and help you through the process.