Social Security Disability Definitions
Social Security Disability and SSI Overview
The Requirements for Disability
Social Security Disability and SSI Applications
Tips and Advice for Disability Claims
How long does Disability take?
Common Mistakes after Receiving a Disability Denial
Disability Denials and Filing Appeals
Social Security Mental Disability Benefits
Disability Benefits offered through Social Security
Benefits through SSI disability
Disability Benefits for Children
Disability Qualifications and How to Qualify
Social Security Disability and Working
Winning your Disability Benefits
Social Security Back Pay and the disability award notice
Disability Lawyers and Hiring an Attorney
Social Security Disability SSI List of Conditions
What is considered a Disabling condition by Social Security?
Social Security Disability SSI and Medical Evidence
Filing for Disability Benefits
Eligibility for Disability Benefits
SSDRC authored by Tim Moore
Ask a question, get an answer
Can You Get Approved For Social Security Disability If You Do Not Take Medication Or Go To a Doctor?
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.
Return to: Social Security Disability Resource Center, or read answers to Questions
Information on the following topics can be found here: Social Security Disability Questions and in these subsections:
Frequently asked questions about getting Denied for Disability Benefits | FAQ on Disability Claim Representation | Info about Social Security Disability Approvals and Being Approved | FAQ on Social Security Disability SSI decisions | The SSD SSI Decision Process and what gets taken into consideration | Disability hearings before Judges | Medical exams for disability claims | Applying for Disability in various states | Selecting and hiring Disability Lawyers | Applying for Disability in North Carolina | Recent articles and answers to questions about SSD and SSI
These pages answer some of the most basic questions for individuals who are considering filing a claim.
Filing for disability - How to file for SSD or SSI and the Information that is needed by Social Security
How to Apply for Disability - What medical conditions can you apply and qualify for?
Applying for Disability - How long does it take to get Social Security Disability or SSI benefits?
What happens if I file a disability application and it is denied by a disability examiner or Judge?
How to Prove you are disabled and qualify to win disability benefits
How do you prove your disability case if you have a mental condition or impairment?
Social Security Disability Back pay and How Long it Takes to Qualify for it and receive it
Social Security Disability SSI - Eligibility Requirements and Qualifications Criteria