Social Security Disability RC

How to file for disability, Filing for SSI
Disability Requirements, Disability Status
How long is the wait?, Disability Application
Social Security Disability list of impairments
How to Qualify for Disability, Mental Disability
Disability Lawyers FAQ, Disability Back Pay

Can You Get Approved For SSI or SSD Benefits IF You Have A Mental Condition But Do Not Take Medication?

Can you be approved for SSI or SSD disability benefits if you do not take medication or are not compliant with the medication you have been prescribed? While Social Security does not specifically state that you have to be compliant with your medication in order to be approved for SSI or approved for SSD (except in the case of attention deficit disorder), it is my opinion as a former disability examiner that non-compliance with prescribed medication does not help your chances of being approved for SSI or SSD disability.

There is no denying that most people with mental conditions have some improvement in their functional capabilities while following their prescribed treatment. Having said this, though, how medication non-compliance might affect the overall chances of being approved for SSI or SSD varies from disability agency to disability agency, and even from unit to unit within those agencies (each state has at least one DDS agency that processes disability claims for the social security administration: DDS stands for disability determination services).

If you do not take any medication, or are not prescribed medication for your mental condition, it may or may not affect upon your chances of being approved for disability. Some mental conditions cannot be treated with medication.

For example, if your mental condition is organic brain disorder, or mental retardation there are no medications available for treatment. If you have one of these conditions you may vary well be approved for disability benefits even if you are not taking medication.

However, if you are not taking medication and your disabling impairment is depression, anxiety, panic attacks, bipolar disorder, etc., your condition may be considered less debilitating or even non-severe.

Mental Impairments that are considered a disability

What mental conditions does the Social Security Administration (SSA) consider disabling? You can get approved for SSI or SSD if you have any one of a variety of mental conditions.

For example, you can be approved for SSI or SSD if you have depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, post-traumatic stress disorder, learning disabilities, mental retardation, panic attacks, somatoform disorder, organic brain disorders, attention deficit disorder, personality disorder, or any other combination of mental conditions.

The Social Security Disability guidebook (a.k.a. the blue book) contains mental impairment listings. These listings provide the medical disability criteria needed to satisfy the SSA severity requirements for receiving disability benefits.

Claimants can be approved for disability benefits by meeting or equaling the requirements of a listing in the blue book, or by successfully passing through the sequential evaluation process, a five step process which seeks to determine whether or not a claimant has a severe impairment that will last at least one full year and which will prevent the performance of substantial and gainful work activity.

What medical evidence is required if you have a mental condition?

Like all disabling conditions, whether they are physical or mental, Social Security requires some type of objective medical evidence to support your allegation of a disabling mental condition. If you are applying for SSI on the basis of a mental condition, it is beneficial to your disability claim if you have a history of continuous treatment for your mental condition from a qualified mental health professional (i.e. a psychiatrist or psychologist).

Generally, Social Security prefers medical information from a treating physician (i.e. counseling notes that contain a diagnosis, prognosis, and response to treatment or any kind of objective mental testing) to make their medical decisions. If you do not have any mental health treatment notes, it is likely that you will have attend a CE, or consultative examination, with a mental health professional who will be paid by the Social Security Administration to:

A) give a status of your mental condition and/or

B) perform objective testing such as intelligence quotient (IQ) testing or memory testing.

Since they are paid for and obtained by Social Security to provide the minimal amount of medical evidence needed for disability examiners to make their disability decision, the consultative examinations rarely result in an approval for SSI or SSD disability benefits. It is simply difficult to ascertain the true limitations of an individual in a one-time, often quick, examination, performed by a doctor who has never previously met the patient and who may have no knowledge of the patient's past medical history.

Having a documented medical history, of course, can also serve to provide a record of prescribed medications and the patient's response to such treatment.

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

Most popular topics on

Social Security Disability SSI Questions

The listings, list of disabling impairments

Can a mental illness qualify you for disability?

Disability Lawyers prevent unnecessary denials

How much Social Security Disability SSI back pay?

How to apply for disability for a child or children

Filing a Social Security Disability SSI application

Filing for disability - when to file

How to apply for disability - where to apply

Qualifications for disability benefits

How to Prove you are disabled and Win your Disability Benefits

Qualifying for Disability - The Process

How to get disability for depression

Getting disability for fibromyalgia

SSI disability for children with ADHD

What is the Application Process for Social Security Disability and SSI?

Common Mistakes to avoid after being denied for Disability

Social Security Disability SSI Exam tips

More Social Security Disability SSI Questions

Social Security Disability SSI definitions

What makes you eligible for Social Security Disability or SSI?

New and featured pages on

Who can help me file for disability?

Related pages:

Can You Get Approved For SSI or SSD Benefits IF You Have A Mental Condition But Do Not Take Medication?
Will Your Claim for Disability be Handled Differently if it is Based on a Physical or Mental Problem?
Can I Qualify For Disability and Receive Benefits based on Depression?
The Social Security Disability and SSI Process for Mental Claims based on Mental Disorders
When you file for disability and have both Mental and Physical Conditions
What kind of Mental Problems Qualify for Disability?
Are SSI and Social Security Disability Requirements Tougher For Mental Claims?
Social Security Disability, SSI, Mental Disorders, and Functional Limitations
Trying to get disability with meniere's, degenerative disc, ankylosing spondylitis, depression, and anxiety
Tips for veterans filing for Social Security Disability
How long will it take to get a decision on SSD or SSI after a medical examination?
Do you get benefits when Social Security reviews your case?
Qualifying for disability in California
How do I apply for disability in Benefits in California
Applying for Disability in California

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, 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 homepage and view the "about this site" link near the bottom of the page.