How Medical Treatment Affects Social Security Disability Benefits

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The Social Security Administration (SSA) provides disability benefits for those who have contributed to its social program. Different factors determine whether you are eligible for the benefits, how much you can receive, and how fast SSA processes your benefits. Your medical treatment is one of these factors.

Below are treatment-related issues that can affect your disability benefits.

Failing to Get Relevant Diagnosis and Treatment

One requirement for Social Security disability benefits is that you must be unable to work due to a qualifying disability. For example, SSA only considers disabilities that:

  • Limit your ability to do your pre-injury work
  • Limit your ability to do basic tasks, such as walking, standing, or sitting
  • Last at least a year, as expected by medical doctors
  • Appear on its list of  medical conditions that prevent people from working

The medical diagnosis and treatment you get after your injury determine whether your disability qualifies. SSA typically accepts applications with adequate evidence. For example, your diagnosis and treatment records can serve as adequate evidence. That will only be the case if you consulted and get treatment from a qualified medical professional

Consider an example in which you have a medical condition that requires special medical care. However, you have only consulted a general physician or an alternative medicine provider. SSA might deem your evidence insufficient and order a consultative examination to assess your disability. Get relevant medical care from the start to avoid such complications.

Refusing Treatment Without an Acceptable Reason

SSA can deny or stop your benefits if you stop treatment without an acceptable reason. Say your doctor has advised you to undergo a necessary surgery, but you keep postponing the surgery. SSA can deny your benefits unless you can prove that:

  • The treatment goes against your religious beliefs
  • The surgery would result in amputation
  • The treatment carries an unusually high risk of dangerous complications
  • You cannot afford the treatment despite your best efforts
  • You have multiple treatment providers, and they have given you conflicting advice

SSA handles such issues on a case-by-case basis, so you cannot always be certain it will certify your treatment refusal as an exception. Consult a Social Security disability lawyer if you wish to process your benefits without undergoing a specific treatment.

Missing Medical Appointments

Many people who apply for Social Security benefits have severe disabilities that require ongoing medical treatments. Thus, you might need regular medical appointments as part of your treatment. You can compromise your Social Security disability benefits if you miss your medical appointments.

SSA needs your medical reports to build a timeline for your injury and recovery. That way, the agency knows when you recover and no longer need the benefits. The SSA may struggle to make such judgments without your medical appointments and thus stop your benefits until they get a clear picture of your situation.

Failing to Report Some Treatments

A severe disability may require treatment from multiple healthcare providers. For example, a back injury may require treatment from your primary physician, a chiropractor, a massage therapist, and a physical therapist.

As mentioned above, SSA requires medical reports to evaluate your medical condition. You should furnish the agency with medical reports from all these healthcare providers. The SSA may err in their assessment if they evaluate your condition and application without some relevant information.

Some injury victims are unaware of the benefits they can receive from SSA. Some people do not even know how to navigate the whole process. provides considerable information on Social Security disability benefits. We also have information on applying for the benefits you deserve. Contact us for an evaluation to determine how to get the benefits.

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