How Do The Medications I Take Affect My Social Security Disability Claim?

To win the financial (and stress) relief that comes with Social Security Disability benefits, you must prove that your health problems qualify—by providing medical evidence.

A key part of that medical evidence is information about the medications you take for the health problems that keep you from working.

At Geary Disability Law, we help people in Wisconsin gather these details all the time, and we’ve seen over and over that a person’s prescriptions can impact their disability application in two major ways:

1) Administrative law judges (ALJs) who decide on disability claims may look at your medications as a sign of the severity of your health conditions.

2) Side effects of medicines you must take for your health can add to your arguments for why you deserve benefits.

You must be unable to work any significant amount to be approved for disability benefits, so seriousness of your ailments and added ailments due to medication side effects play important roles.

Monthly checks from Social Security Disability, and the Medicare eligibility that you also receive with SSD, can keep you going when you lose your livelihood to bad health.

So don’t leave anything important out of your claim. Talk to an experienced disability lawyer to make sure your medications are properly explained to Social Security.

Let’s look closer . . .

How Disability Judges View Your Medications

The way the system works, most people get denied disability benefits at first.

Then you have to start an appeal. Perhaps the most important part of a disability benefits appeal is going to a hearing with an administrative law judge.

And the ALJ will review the records of your medications.

Now, ALJs are not doctors, but they are required to handle hundreds of disability benefits cases per year.

As a result, the judges get to see numerous cases and learn the medications used to treat certain conditions. They can often tell which medications are clearly intended for more serious conditions. (The kinds of conditions that qualify for benefits.)

I am intentionally not providing any specific examples here, because I’m a disability attorney and don’t have medical training.

But certainly the ALJ who handles your case will be looking closely at the medications that have been prescribed to you.

That makes it important to accurately and completely describe the drugs doctors give you when you put together your case for benefits.

How Medication Side Effects Add to Your Social Security Disability Claim

Perhaps more importantly, Social Security will consider any side effects caused by your medications.

Make sure to tell your doctors or other treatment providers of any significant side effects you’re experiencing.

First off, you should let your treatment providers know about painful or difficult side effects so they can make modifications to your treatment if such modifications are possible.

And if modifications are not possible, you need to discuss what’s happening with your health care providers so you can get documentation of the hardships your prescriptions cause.

This documentation will add to that crucial medical evidence that may determine the outcome of your disability claim.

Social Security is required to consider the side effects of your medications, just like it must consider the symptoms of your health problems themselves.

If your health requires that you take certain medications, and these medications cause complications that undermine your ability to work, this is definitely an issue you need to raise in your application and appeal.

So talk about this with your disability lawyer, who can use the information to help you build the strongest possible claim for life-changing disability benefits—and help you move on to better times.

In the Fox Valley and across Northeast Wisconsin, you can talk to us at Geary Disability Law.

Written by Tim Geary.

Disclaimer: Blog entries are not intended to be a substitute for actual legal advice. It is important for a representative to understand the specific facts and circumstances of your case before they can provide you actual legal advice. If you have questions about your Social Security Disability benefits, please contact a qualified representative to discuss your case.

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