Friday, February 02, 2007

Is Medication an Issue for Social Security Disability

Someone posted this question in a forum recently: "Will if affect my case if I am not on medication when I apply for disability?"

When it comes to medication and filing for disability, there are two separate issues.

The first one concerns "compliance with prescribed medication". What does this mean? Basically this. If you have a condition for which medication has been prescribed and it becomes evident during a review of your medical records (at the initial claim level, first appeal level, or by a disability judge at the disability hearing level) that you have not taken your medication as directed by the prescribing physician, this may have a negative impact on how your claim is viewed.

Of course, this may sound completely ridiculous to someone whose medical insurance has lapsed for quite some time (obviously, its difficult to get medication if you don't have health insurance--unfortunately, this happens to a large percentage of disability claimants), but the social security administration's point of view is this: for a disability claimant has not taken medication as prescribed, how is it possible to gauge the true severity of their condition?

The second issue regarding medication and social security disability applications, however, is the very question asked by the poster in the forum -- "Will if affect my case if I am not medication when I apply for disability?"

Answer: You do not necessarily need to be on medication to be approved for social security disability or SSI disability. And Social Security Disability Examiners and Administrative Law Judges do not use a checklist for medication usage.

Just the same, though, disability examiners and ALJs may find it noteworthy (just to use a couple of examples) that a claimant who has major depression is not taking antidepressants, or that a claimant with seizure disorder is not taking antiseizure medications.

This is really, however, how disability applicants should view the medication issue. If you have a condition, are being treated for the condition, and are not being prescribed medication, don't worry about it. The social security administration will evaluate your medical records and make a determination based on the severity of your condition, the extent to which it functionally limits you, and the resulting effect on your ability to work.

If you have been prescribed medication, try to stay compliant because cases are denied on the basis of non-compliance. Without a doubt, this can be a bitter pill for disability applicants who have fought long and hard to win disability benefits and, somewhere along the way, have lost their health insurance coverage.

For those that have, it may be helpful to consult resources such as Needy Meds , a website that allows users to learn about the various prescription medication assistance programs that are operated by pharmaceutical companies.

Return to the Social Security Disability SSI Benefits Blog

Other Posts

Is Medication an Issue for Social Security Disability
Free Legal Representation for Social Security Disability or SSI claims
Will my disability case be reviewed after I am awarded disability benefits?


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