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.

About the Author: Tim Moore is a former Social Security Disability Examiner in North Carolina, has been interviewed by the NY Times and the LA Times on the disability system, and is an Accredited Disability Representative (ADR) in North Carolina. For assistance on a disability application or Appeal in NC, click here.

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