When I wrote about how to apply for a PWD ID in 2018 I made sure to include a section on whether applications can get disapproved. And for those who didn’t bother to read the article, the answer is YES! Non-apparent disabilities can be rejected if the accompanying documents are unable to substantially prove that the applicant is qualified for a PWD ID.
I cannot blame PDAO for looking really closely at the documents because there are many who apply who don’t really have a disability but just want to take advantage of the privileges given to those who are, which is actually an accommodation given the disability. I actually know of people who have done this … who have BOUGHT their PWD ID with a supposed mental disability. If a lack of conscience is an acceptable mental disability, then there you go!
Some mental disabilities such as ADHD and bipolar disorder, for example, are not immediately approved as it needs a comprehensive medical abstract from a licensed psychologist who is connected with a hospital.
I’ve heard of instances where a person with ADHD is bipolar at the same time. Oftentimes, we hear this accompanied even by severe depression. It can happen. But it won’t be approved without the comprehensive medical abstract.
Non-apparent orthopedic disabilities can also be rejected if the supporting papers, such as the medical abstract is unable to prove that the condition is a disability.
A slipped (or herniated) disc, for example, is not considered a disability. I am not a doctor, don’t quote me on this, but I am assuming that a herniated disc is not approved because it is common and does not impact our lives long-term.
According to the Mayo Clinic, disc herniation is often the result of gradual, aging-related wear and tear, or disc degeneration. This means that as we age, we all experience disc herniation. If we are healthy, then to a lesser degree than someone who was injured.
Disc herniation can also happen to young adults due to trauma such as those caused by an injury related to an accident, work, or sports. Disc herniation on its own is not enough reason to qualify for a PWD ID. Once implants are required and the spine is permanently compromised, then that is when it qualifies.
Scoliosis is a disability, but not all applicants with scoliosis are approved, especially if they cannot see any curvature in the spine and the supporting documents do not substantiate the condition. I know someone who told me he has scoliosis but try as I might, I don’t see it. To be fair, it isn’t pronounced, if at all, and it’s not like I have ever seen his naked back so how would I really know? I also haven’t seen his x-rays PLUS … most importantly, I am not a doctor.
My niece has scoliosis. When she was young she even had to wear a body brace. Now, I don’t think she wears one anymore but not because her scoliosis is gone. It is still there but to a lesser degree. I don’t know if her parents ever applied for a PWD ID for her as back then, I don’t think it even existed.
You don’t need to be completely blind but if your eyesight is so poor that it cannot be addressed by corrective glasses, lenses, or medication, then you can apply.
What to do
So, if you have a non-apparent disability and would like to apply for a PWD ID then you need to make sure that your documents are complete and that the medical abstract provided can show that you really are qualified to receive one. Otherwise, be grateful that you are healthy.