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Impaired vs Disabled: What Are the Differences?

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Did you know that 61 million adults in the United States of America have at least one disability that they deal with in daily life? Determining the difference between impaired vs. disability in the U.S. is not an easy task, especially if you’re planning on applying for benefits for your healthcare. Having a disability explained helps, but there is a good amount of crossover when learning what is an impairment.

Taking the time to learn whether you’re suffering from an impairment or a disability will help you know which steps to take in order to get the help and benefits that you deserve. The good news is that you’re in the right place to learn about the differences between the two in this great disability guide.

Keep reading this article to learn more today!

What Is Impairment?

The first thing to learn about is what impairment entails for individuals that are impaired. Impairment occurs when your physical or psychological health gets damaged or changed as a result of an action. A common cause of impairment in the United States is workplace injuries that occur.

The damage that is caused by accidents and workplace injuries could be a temporary setback or it could be permanent and result in becoming a disability that you live with. That said, impairments might not stop someone from providing the same caliber of work in the workplace even if the damage is permanent.

Structural and functional impairment are the two main categories that impairments fall under. Structural impairment results when problems arise with internal or external body parts. Multiple sclerosis is a big case of structural impairment.

People that suffer from MS tend to have issues with the myelin sheath, which leaves the nerves exposed and leads to severe damage. It could also result from losing a limb in an accident or as a result of a medical issue.

Functional impairment is more related to losing the use of a body part as a result of pain or tightness. If you’re someone that suffers extreme joint pain with no treatment options then you’re facing functional impairment of that joint.

What Is a Disability?

Disability is a term applied to individuals that are unable to perform their job or a given task as a result of the impairments that they face in daily life. A disability could also come as a result that you’ve suffered at or away from work.

It’s tricky, but remember that disability results from different impairments, while impairments won’t always develop into a disability. Knowing what need doctor prove disability is a great step toward getting the help and healthcare that you need. Another key thing to remember with both disability and impairment is that they could end up becoming temporary or permanent.

There are three different dimensions of disability that are worth knowing. The first is impairment, like the loss of your vision or losing a leg in a work accident. Activity limitation is another type of disability and it refers to losing the ability to see, hear, or move well enough to take part in normal activities.

Participation restrictions are the last dimension of disability. They result when you’re no longer capable of attending and engaging in social activities, working, or handling daily tasks as a result of your impairments.

So What Is Impaired vs. Disabled?

The definitions given to “impaired” and “disabled” by the American Medical Association are loose and confusing, especially if you’re going through a lot and trying to get the benefits that you’re entitled to.

Impairment could refer to permanent injury, or it could refer to a temporary setback. It’s also possible for an impairment to result in a steady decline in your health or a disease that is getting worse. It’s an objective term that makes the process more confusing.

Disability is great because it is based on the impairments that an individual is facing and their ability to work based on those impairments. It isn’t uncommon for two people to have the same impairment but only one of them qualifies for disability benefits. Disability is used more for work purposes than for medical diagnoses.

Tips for Applying for Disability

If you plan on applying for disability benefits then it’s best to take steps that give you the best odds of approval. Remaining open and honest with your application is the best approach for getting the benefits that you’ve earned.

List All of Your Conditions

If you’re suffering from more than one condition then it is best to lay out each thing that is holding you back from living a normal life. It doesn’t matter how significant these health problems are or how they started, you need to lay them out.

Be Honest

You should also remain honest about what you’re going through when you’re filling out the application. Be open about what you can and cannot do from a physical and mental health standpoint. Avoid exaggerating what you’re experiencing in hope that it will increase your odds of getting benefits.

Communicate With Your Doctors

Staying in close contact with your doctors is another important part of getting the disability benefits that you’re entitled to. Doctors should have an idea of what is expected of them when they’re treating a patient with impairments and disabilities. They’ll need to provide reports and diagnoses.

It’s also normal for them to ask for a report about your limitations and capabilities. Your doctors will give you a better chance of getting the benefits that you’re seeking.

Now You’ve Got Disability Explained

Having a good idea of the differences between the impaired vs. disabled is important if you’ve suffered an injury at work or in your daily life. Disabilities result from impairments that you live with, while your impairments result in a loss of function with your body parts. Make sure that you’re honest throughout the process of applying for your benefits.

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