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How to file for disability, Filing for SSI
Disability Requirements, Disability Status
How long is the wait?, Disability Application
The Social Security List of Impairments
Qualifying for Disability, Mental Disability
Disability Lawyer Info, Disability Back Pay

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 individual’s 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 person’s 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 individual’s 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.








Essential Questions

What is the Social Security Disability SSI list of impairments?

Can you work while getting or applying for Disability?

How Often Does Social Security Approve Disability The First Time You Apply?

Tips for getting Social Security Disability or SSI benefits approved

What medical conditions will get you approved for disability?

What kind of Mental Problems Qualify for Disability?

Receiving a Disability Award Letter

Conditions Social Security will recognize as a disability

Previously answered questions regarding SSD and SSI

Applying for disability in your state



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These pages answer some of the most basic questions for individuals who are considering filing a claim.

Can you get temporary Social Security Disability or SSI benefits?

Permanent Social Security Disability

What is the difference between Social Security Disability and SSI?

Who is eligible for SSI disability?

Can I Be Eligible For SSI And Social Security Disability At The Same Time?

What makes a person eligible to receive disability benefits?

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?









For the sake of clarity, SSDRC.com is not the Social Security Administration, nor is it associated or affiliated with SSA. This site is a personal, private website that is published, edited, and maintained by former caseworker and former disability claims examiner, Tim Moore, who was interviewed by the New York Times on the topic of Social Security Disability and SSI benefits in an article entitled "The Disability Mess" and also by the Los Angeles Times on the subject of political attempts to weaken the Social Security Disability system.

The goal of the site is to provide information about how Social Security Disability and SSI work, the idea being that qualified information may help claimants pursue their claims and appeals, potentially avoiding time-consuming mistakes. If you find the information on this site helpful and believe it would be helpful to others, feel free to share links to its homepage or other pages on website resource pages, blogs, or social media. Copying of this material, however, is prohibited.

To learn more about the author, please visit the SSDRC.com homepage and view the "about this site" link near the bottom of the page.