For the first time in what may seem like forever since the beginning of the Coronavirus lockdown, July 2021 featured family and fireworks as we celebrated our nation’s independence. We also paused to celebrate the many veterans who made this freedom possible. There are other reasons to celebrate and focus as well. July is also Social Wellness Month. We celebrate our physical independence, even if that independence has some limits, and reflect on ways we can improve our wellness.
In 1948, the World Health Organization defined “wellness” as “A state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” This definition is as edgy today as it was all those years ago. Some question if it’s possible to be a complete and whole person or live a complete life if you have a serious disability. As long as you overcome that disability, or adjust to your disability not being the limiting factor in your life, then yes, a complete life perfect for you IS POSSIBLE.
Physical, mental, and social wellness are interconnected. When we feel good about ourselves, we take better care of ourselves. So, we have more energy to connect with people at the end of a long day. These connections improve our mental state, which prompts us to take even better care of ourselves, and, well, you get the idea.
At the Heermans Social Security Disability Law Firm, our SSA law firm cannot make physical or mental disabilities disappear. But we can help connect families with the resources they need to overcome these imitations and live their best lives.
The wellness circle has to start somewhere, and this area is a very good place to begin. Lasting change usually comes from within.
Many people understandably confuse mental wellness with mental illness. About 15 percent of Amercians deal with conditions like substance addiction, severe chronic depression, and obsessive compulsive disorder. But that doesn’t mean the other 85 percent of people are a picture of perfect mental wellness. This also doesn’t mean that mentally ill people cannot experience mental wellness. In fact, many of these individuals function well at work, have generally positive social relationships, and are basically happy and fulfilled.
Lots of people have issues in this area. In fact, according to one study, only about 20 percent of Americans are “flourishing” in terms of mental wellness. The rest are “languishing,” at least to some extent.
Sometimes, Social Security Disability benefits are available for mentally ill individuals. More on that below. However, as for mental wellness, we are usually on our own. Physical changes, like a better diet, more sleep, and more exercise, often improve mental wellness. Improving social relationships and diving deeper into spiritual pursuits also has the same effect.
Psychologists define social wellness as our relationships with the people close to us and our interaction with everyone else. The upside is rather obvious. The downside includes physical symptoms, such as high stress levels, high blood pressure, and even susceptibility to COVID-19 and other infectious diseases.
Improving social wellness is usually a three-step process. First, we must forge relationships with people. Facebook friends are better than no friends, but they really don’t count. One way to build on “virtual relationships” is to host a video Zoom Chat or Facetime the people you rarely get to see in person. Then, invest time and energy into building these relationships. This investment usually pays off. FInally, do things with your friends. Physical activity has a number of benefits for everyone.
Whether you have a visible or invisible disability, this final area is where our SSI disability lawyers in Memphis can help most. Some people view these disabilities in different ways. But the law treats them the same, and so do we.
For the most part, visible disabilities are accident-related. Even a “minor” car wreck is very disruptive in many ways. A catastrophic injury could make it impossible for a victim to work. If that’s the case, you may be eligible for disability benefits. Some common accident-related disabling conditions include:
- Head Injuries: One of the most common accident-related injuries is also one of the most serious ones. Frequently, the violent motion of a wreck, as opposed to a trauma impact, causes these injuries. These victims usually struggle with symptoms like memory loss, sensory impairment, and other effects which make it difficult or impossible to function.
- Broken Bones: The extreme force in a car wreck usually shatters bones as opposed to breaking them. These injuries usually take many months to heal, and these victims usually experience some permanent loss of function. Largely depending on the victim’s educational and vocational background, these injuries could be permanently disabling.
- Back Injuries: These wounds are especially severe, and especially common, if the victim has a pre-existing condition. Any additional injury could transform a previous borderline disability into a completely disabling condition. Usually, severe back injuries cause chronic pain and severely limit mobility.
Typically, a personal injury settlement does not affect eligibility for Social Security Disability benefits. More on these eligibility issues below.
Sometimes, these areas overlap. One of the most common accident-related disabling injuries is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Although PTSD is a physical brain injury, it has no physical symptoms. Instead, all the symptoms are emotional, such as anger, depression, and hypervigilance.
Extremely traumatic events, like car crashes, cause chemical changes in the brain. The amygdala, which controls emotional responses, enlarges. Meanwhile, the cerebral cortex, which controls logical responses, shrinks. That imbalance explains the aforementioned symptoms, which are disabling in many cases.
Many other invisible SSDI conditions are chronic diseases, like cancer. Once again, even if a pre-existing condition contributed to the illness, benefits are usually available.
In general, you may be eligible for benefits if your condition prevents you from working. That condition must be likely to last at least twelve months or be terminal. Additionally, the disabling condition must be in the SSA’s Blue Book, or be substantially similar to a listed condition. Benefits are usually easier to obtain if you have a Blue Book impairment diagnosis, because a presumption applies.
It’s also easier to obtain SSDI benefits if you are over 50. People in this age bracket have a harder time developing different employment skills. Usually, benefits are only available if this retraining is impossible.
Other qualifications may apply as well. These requirements include income limits and Social Security credits.
For more ways to get healthy and stay healthy, contact the SSI lawyers near you in the greater mid south region of Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Louisiana at the Heermans Social Security Disability Law Firm. We are available 24/7 by text or you can give us a call at (901) 244-0057 or use our simple online form for a free evaluation.
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