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You know you have a mental illness. You even went to the doctor seeking treatment and the doctor made some suggestions to you. However, you haven’t followed through on those suggestions consistently. You may be inconsistent about taking your medications or you may fail to show up for follow-up appointments, for example. You don’t mean to do these things; they just happen, and if your lack of action is a symptom of your condition, it shouldn’t be held against you.

Exceptions to Treatment Requirements

Generally, the Social Security Administration (SSA) may deny an application for Social Security disability benefits if the applicant failed to follow through on doctors’ recommended treatments. There are exceptions to that general rule, however. The SSA cannot hold your lack of treatment against you if your mental health condition—the one for which you are seeking disability benefits—prevents you from consistently getting treatment.

Additionally, the SSA should not hold a lack of treatment against you if:

  • You couldn’t afford the treatment.
  • The treatment was against your religion.
  • You are able to make lifestyle modifications to manage your symptoms without treatment.
  • The side effects of the medication are worse than the treatment.

Yet, the SSA may try and use your lack of treatment as a reason why you should be denied benefits. Accordingly, it is important to know your rights and to get the help you need to fully complete an accurate Social Security disability application. To learn more about how to do that, please start a live chat with us today.

Morgan & Weisbrod LLP

by Paul B. Burkhalter
Managing Partner of Morgan & Weisbrod, Board Certified in Social Security Disability Law.


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