Every year, the Social Security Administration (SSA) receives thousands of applications for disability benefits. The SSA denies applications for many reasons, including evidence that the applicant has failed or refused to seek treatment. Lack of treatment for a debilitating condition is an indication to the SSA that you’re either unwilling to cooperate in order to get better, or that you’d rather be disabled in order to take advantage of the disability system. Either way, the SSA won’t take your application seriously over those who are legitimately working toward recovery.
However, the SSA does accept certain reasons for a failure to seek or complete treatment.
Ignoring the Doctor’s Orders: Legitimate Excuses for Treatment Refusal
Following your doctor’s instructions for treatment may seem like a “no-brainer” for your recovery. However, some people have legitimate, verifiable reasons for not pursuing treatment, including the following:
- Fear: legitimate fear or intense anxiety of surgical procedures, as confirmed by a doctor.
- Mental illness: any mental condition that prevents you from participating in therapy.
- Recovering from addiction: a proven record of addiction to prescription medications in the past which prevents you from taking prescribed drugs.
- Physical limitations: a physical inability to follow prescribed therapy without assistance because of your ailment.
- Unacceptable treatment: if the treatment prescribed will not help you return to work, but is only prescribed to help decrease or manage pain, the SSA will not penalize you for choosing to abstain
- Unable to afford treatment: lacking means to pay for prescribed treatment or medication.
- Mistrust: treatment suggestions are questionable or a secondary doctor’s opinion disagrees with them.
- Religious objections: religious beliefs prohibit you from receiving medical therapy.
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