The Elder and Disability Law Firm, APC
Medication not necessary for a disability claim
Many people in California may wonder if they must be taking prescribed medication in order to receive social security disability (SSD) or SSI benefits. However, the Social Security Administration does not define a disability by the types of medication a claimant takes or whether he or she takes any medication at all. Pharmaceutical prescriptions are not a requirement to receive disability benefits as there is little benefit to be gained through prescribed medication for many disabling conditions.
However, if a person seeking social security disability benefits has a condition that is considered to be improved by medication, questions may be asked if he or she does not take the medication for the condition. A disability examiner may ask if the claimant could go back to work if he or she accepted prescribed medication. This is especially true if a claimant does not have a record of trying the medication to see if it ameliorates his or her condition or produces unacceptable side effects.
For example, epilepsy can often be controlled with seizure medication, and asthma and depression can also be treated with prescribed drugs. SSD claimants who have not tried medication in the past may have a more difficult time making successful claims, especially as it could indicate that their conditions are not significantly serious or that their physicians did not consider medication to be necessary. In addition, the Social Security Administration may decide that a claimant's true functional capacity has not been assessed because he or she has not yet tried the medication for his or her condition.
When applying for Social Security Disability benefits, medical records and histories are essential. A lack of medical documentation can be a major obstacle for many claimants. People who are filing for SSD benefits can work with a disability lawyer to prepare their application and gather the necessary documentation in order to pursue a successful claim.