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Disability Benefits for Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse

Childhood sexual abuse and Social Security Disability - Walton Law LLC

Unfavorable childhood experiences can severely impact a person well into their adult years. In fact, someone who was abused or suffered extreme trauma as a child might find that those experiences shape the rest of their life, creating conditions that make it difficult, if not impossible, to function long-term. These traumas might be the result of an intentional act by a family member, close friend, or stranger, such as childhood sexual abuse.

The Consequence of Adverse Childhood Experiences

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) categorizes Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) into several groups: neglect, abuse, and household/family changes. According to the CDC, as an ACE in a person’s life increases, there are greater chances for other conditions to develop. These include:

  • Depression
  • PTSD
  • Alcohol and drug abuse
  • Heart disease
  • Liver disease
  • Financial stress
  • Sleep issues
  • STDs
  • Suicide attempts
  • Other health-related issues

Because suffering trauma at an early age can impact an adult’s physical and emotional health, there is a greater chance that childhood sexual abuse could lead to conditions that qualify a person for disability benefits. These conditions don’t have to manifest immediately to qualify. In fact, many adults live for years if not decades with repressed memories of childhood sexual abuse, only to have past events create serious problems and health issues later in life.

Adverse childhood experiences like sexual trauma often have the element of betrayal of trust. A child trusts a family member or other close friend to protect them, only to find that they are harmed instead. Because of this, these children grow up believing that it’s not a good idea to trust anyone, which creates relationship issues for years to come.

As we saw in the list from the CDC, childhood trauma can result in both physical and emotional consequences. Adult survivors of childhood trauma are at greater risk for illnesses that include cardiovascular disease, arthritis, diabetes, and even cancer. The reason that these diseases are more prevalent in this group is that survivors of trauma are more likely to drink, smoke, and be less physically active than others in the community.

Disability Benefits for Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse

If you are disabled because of childhood sexual abuse, you may be entitled to disability benefits. Whether your physical or emotional issues began years ago or have just recently manifested is immaterial. If you can show that your physical or mental impairment makes it impossible for you to perform certain types of work or be in certain work environments, the Social Security Administration might approve your claim for benefits.

If you are a survivor of childhood sexual abuse and decide to file for disability benefits, you will need to be prepared to answer several pertinent questions from the judge at a disability hearing. These might include:

  • How have you been able to cope with the aftermath of this abuse for a number of years but are now unable to function or earn a living?
  • What has changed in your life that you now require disability benefits?
  • How does your current condition impact you in a way that you are no longer able to work?

In most cases, you won’t need to describe the actual abuse in front of a judge because your disability attorney will outline these details in a brief that is filed with the court. There may, however, be asked some clarifying questions about your past before the judge can make a ruling on your case.

Whether you qualify for disability will also depend on the support and information obtained from your medical records. This will include any statements and treatment notes from your primary physician, any specialists, as well as records from hospital stays and courses of therapy.

The long-term effects of childhood sexual abuse can impact a person’s ability to perform gainful work of any type. If you find yourself in this situation, an experienced Alabama Social Security Disability lawyer can help guide you through the Social Security disability application process so that your claim has the best chance of acceptance. Contact Walton Law, LLC at (251) 455-5819 to schedule a free case evaluation today.


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