Overview of Disability

Disability Back Pay

Disability Requirements

Disability Applications

Disability Advice Tips

How long do cases take?

How to win Disability

SSD Mistakes to avoid

Disability for Mental

What if you get denied?

How to file Appeals

Disability through SSA

SSI Disability Benefits

Disability for Children

How do I qualify for it?

Working and Disability

Disability Award Notice

Disability Lawyer Q&A

Disability Conditions List

What is a disability?

Your Medical Evidence

Filing for your Disability

Disability Eligibility

SSD SSI Definitions

Recent Questions

SSDRC Disability Blog

When I Apply For Disability, Should I List My Old Meds From Years Ago?

The Social Security definition of disability requires that a person must be able to prove that that they are currently disabled and are likely to stay that way for the forseeable future. This is why, in some respects, old medical record information is not as important as current medical evidence (though it should be made clear that older evidence will help to establish how far back it is that a person will qualify for disability benefits, which will certainly have an impact on how much disability back pay they may potentially receive, as well as when their medicare benefits might "kick in".

Qualifying for Disability and your residual functional capacity, or RFC

Disability eligibility, for Social Security disability and SSI purposes, hinges upon a concept known as residual functional capacity rather than simply being diagnosed with a specific impairment or taking certain medications.

Residual functional capacity is what an individual is capable doing in spite of the limitations of their disabling condition or conditions. Thus, disability examiners need access to current medical records from a person's hospitals and doctors in order to detemine if that person is currently disabled. It makes no difference if medical records that are dated from five months earlier substantiate a claim for disability, i.e. prove that the person was disabled five months ago. To receive a disability award, it must be proven that a person is currently disabled; therefore, the social security administration needs current records (meaning not older than 90 days).

Current Medications versus Old Medications

A disability examiner working on a claim would also need a list of current medications rather than old medications that a person is no longer taking. This is because they are supposed to consider the effects of an individualís medications, both upon their ability to engage in activities of daily living as well as upon their ability to perform substantial work activity. After all, the medications used to treat certain conditions may be even more limiting than the personís condition.

So, in answer to the question, listing current medications will be far more important than listing old medications. In fact, if your claim later goes to a hearing in front of a federal judge, your disability attorney will ask you for a list of your current meds, not your older ones.

Nonetheless, there is still some value in listing older medications when you initially file for disability. For example, if you were once given medication for anxiety or depression, but no longer take them, this can provide a tip-off to the disability examiner that you have a history of one of these illnesses that should, perhaps, be investigated, or at least given some consideration when your case is evaluated.

Having said all this, unfortunately, it was my experience as a Social Security disability examiner that, all too often, no consideration is given to the effects of an individualís medications on their ability to function normally, let alone work for that matter. Were this not the case, it is likely that attempts at qualifying for disability benefits under either the title II program (social security disability) or title 16 program (SSI disability) would be far less complicated, involve far less time, and would yield better outcomes for claimants.

It goes without saying that the system for Social security disability and SSI eligibility criteria could benefit from certain alterations and improvments to the process that is currently in use.

Return to:  Social Security Disability Resource Center, or read answers to Questions

Related pages:

Should you Look at the Disability File that Social Security has on You?
How do I apply for a Social Security disability widowís claim?
Who handles my case if I apply for Social Security disability?
Social Security Disability Application Online
Can I apply for disability online?
Can I Collect Unemployment While I File For Disability Benefits (SSD or SSI)?
What medical conditions can you apply for disability for?
To Apply For SSI or SSD Disability Benefits, Where do I Start?
When You Apply For Disability, write Down Everything That Is Wrong With You
When I Apply For Disability, Should I List My Old Meds From Years Ago?
When I Apply for Disability - Should I apply for social Security disability or SSI?
What happens if you are working when you file for disability or work after you apply?
If Social Security Turns Down My Case Can I apply For Disability A Second Time?

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.

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