Inability to clarify an invisible handicap to third parties


Some handicaps forcing humans into a wheelchair are visible. On the other hand, there are handicaps that are not visible as well such as nerve pains. The similarity, they are both very impairing. The difference, invisible handicaps are notoriously difficult to be understood by third parties. This is especially frustrating and potentially damaging if those third parties are the first point of contact in any assessment process for healthcare relief.

Currently, the likelihood of successfully passing the assessment process is entirely dependent on whether the third-party precisely understand the person with the invisible handicap and the (hidden) consequences attached to it.

The problem

Successfully passing the assessment process is vital for access to professional care in the Netherlands. That the access to professional care budgets depends on a third party judgment despite quality control is thrilling at best and downright dangerous at worst. Not all handicaps are visible or can be made visible during a snapshot, which the assessment process is.

Another factor contributing to the problem is that only documented evidence is considered legitimate in the assessment process. This discriminating way of evidence legitimacy excludes all other methods (i.e. video recordings) that can succeed in making the handicap visible whereby documented evidence would fail.

Also, assessors tend to base the case on unwillingness when they can’t figure the handicap out. The person with the handicap can never properly defend himself against such invisible reason thus the application refusal after the assessment process causes all kinds of ripple & butterfly like-effect problems.

The Ministry of Health even confirms that behavioral problems are by no means the person’s unwillingness but rather surrounding factors, regardless of the handicap.

The solution

If an invisible or inexplicable handicap explanation occurs, something has to prevent the person with a said handicap during the assessment to be disadvantaged due to the impossibility to explain clearly the handicap.

Our advice is to provide people who struggle to be able to explain their handicap clearly to get through the assessment process with a trajectory monitoring of at least one month in which 1 Full-Time-Employment (FTE) per week is used to (literally) be with that person mapping (visualizing) the handicap and its fallout.

The conclusion

The fact that access to healthcare funds stands or falls with who handles your case during the assessment process is a bad thing. Because it is important that the healthcare funds only go to the people who need it, people with an invisible handicap must also be given adequate resources to make their handicap visible for a proper assessment.

G: Animation video: Awareness invisible handicaps


Time: 7 uur
Written by: Mariƫlle Pax & Robert Velhorst