What is the Application Process for Social Security Disability and SSI?
How do you Win Benefits under Social Security Disability or SSI?
If I am determined disabled, how far back will Social Security pay benefits?
How do you prove your disability case if you have a mental condition?
What Can I Do to Improve My Chances of Winning Disability Benefits
Common Mistakes after Receiving a Denial of Social Security Disability or SSI Benefits
How to File for Disability - Tips for Filing
If You Get Approved For SSDI Will You Also Get Medicare?
How much does a Social Security disability attorney get paid?
Social Security Disability SSI Criteria and the Evaluation Process
How long does it take to be approved for SSI or Social Security disability?
What do you Need to Prove to Qualify for Disability Benefits?
Social Security Disability SSI and Fibromyalgia
Social Security Disability SSI and Degenerative Disc Disease
Can I Qualify For Disability and Receive Benefits based on Depression?
Answers to questions about SSD and SSI disability
What Disabilities Qualify for SSI and Social Security Disability Benefits?
Social Security Disability Status
Social Security Disability Tips — how a claim gets worked on
Social Security Disability, SSI Disability - Terms, Definitions, Concepts
Can You Get Approved For Social Security Disability If You Do Not Take Medication Or Go To a Doctor?
How to prove you are disabled
and win disability benefits
It can be very difficult to get approved for Social Security disability if you do not take medication or go to a doctor. However, it is not impossible.
If you are filing for disability on the basis of mental retardation, memory loss, paraplegia, blindness, deafness, or some other condition that is easily addressed with objective testing, you have a better chance of being approved even without regular physician visits or being on a medication regimen. Frankly, not all disabling conditions require medication or frequent doctor visits.
More to the point, Social Security disability examiners have to have current, objective medical information, along with whatever records are supplied by a cliamant's doctors ("current" is defined as medical treatment that is no more than ninety days old) in order to make a disability determination.
If you have no current medical records, but are filing on the basis of an impairment like those listed above, Social Security can easily verify the severity of your disabling condition with a consultative examination.
A CE, or consultative exam, is an examination that is performed by an independent doctor or psychologist to provide additional documentation for a disability claim. Typically, this is done when a claimant has not received treatment for a specific condition, or has not been seen by a doctor in the last 90 days.
Consultative examinations generally do not help disability applicants win their disability benefits. However, they are very valuable when addressing impairments with obvious limitations.
On the flip side, if your disabling condition does not involve clear and evident limitations, you may have a harder time being approved with the evidence garnered through just a simple consultative examination.
In all cases, your disability case would strongly benefit from medical treatment notes supplied by a treating physician. Having current medical treatment at the time of filing a claim can definitively affect the outcome of the claim, as well as how long it takes to process the claim (having to schedule medical exams can add considerable time to a social security disability or SSI case).
And, of course, if you do have an established history of medical treatment, along with current treatment, you are more likely to have a credible diagnosis along with information about your prescribed treatment (medication, therapy, etc).
Your treating physician may also include observations about your response to treatment as well as indications as to the severity of the limitations caused by your condition. This kind of evidence is immeasurably important to the success of your disability case if it supports your allegation of disability.
A word of caution: you should always review your treating physician's notes before filing for disability. It was my experience as a former Social Security disability examiner that some treating doctors did not consider their patients to be disabled, or made other negative remarks about their patients in their notes. If your doctor’s notes contain negative information, they may hurt your disability case rather than help it.
In a nutshell, the disability examiner has to have medical treatment records that are no older than three months old to make their disability determination. If you do not take medication or go to the doctor, they will get that information from a consultative examination.
Your consultative examination report can determine if you are approved for disability, but, obviously, the information obtained from a ten minute physical exam or hour long psychological testing cannot fully substitute for solid medical record documentation from a doctor who has an established history of treating your condition or conditions.
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Topics and Questions
SSD and SSI are Federal Programs
The title II Social Security Disability and title 16 SSI Disability programs operate under federal guidelines and, therefore, the program requirements--medical and non-medical--apply to all states:
Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming
Recent approval and denial statistics for various states can be viewed here:
Social Security Disability, SSI Approval and Denial Statistics by state
Special Section: Disability Lawyers and unnecessary claim denials