I have had a fair amount of clients, usually women, who either are or were domestic violence or domestic abuse victims. Some were beaten so badly that they had permanent physical impairments. Some had their disabilities before entering into abusive relationships and felt that they "needed" someone to take care of them or help them through life, settling for something not resembling a healthy relationship. Some have men in their life that try to sabotage their social security disability cases. They throw away mail from my office or the social security office. They don't pass on messages or take phones away from them. They make them miss important medical appointments. Others seem way too excited about their significant other getting a regular monthly check no matter how relatively small the amount. None of this is ever apparent right off the back but it eventually is made clear. I'm not a counselor or a social workers but as an attorney these are issues that have to be addressed and confronted. They can affect a case in a myriad of ways. I usually talk to the client alone to address my concerns and make a referral to the local domestic violence nonprofit. From a larger public policy standpoint I always think of what a major difference their would be in society at different levels, including law enforcement and the courts, if we could eradicate domestic violence and substance abuse before they even happen. With all the cutting edge science and technology out there shouldn't there be a way?
There's another problem related to Domestic Violence though when it comes to Social Security Disability. I have had clients that were in physically and or sexually abuse for years. I don't think this is the kind of thing someone can ever recover from. They are diagnosed with PTSD and usually related disorders. What is the problem? I have no emperical proof but I think that this kind of PTSD is often seen or just viewed as a "woman's thing" or something they can just "pull themselves up and out by the boot straps, take some pills, see a counselor, and that's it." It does serious permanent mental harm to people, women, men, and children. And while we love to think that everyone can "overcome" things and "raise themselves up" that's bullshit. For many of them the only thing and maybe the best thing to help "raise themselves up" is getting Social Security Benefits. There are many people who can overcome these things and work full time employment in a competitive workplace. There are many who cannot. Unfortunately the system is rigged against those who cannot. A lot more I could say here but this is a blog so I'm stopping here.
I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!