Seems like an obvious statement, right? Well surprisingly there are many Social Security Disability claimants who are not receiving sufficient treatment for their conditions. Not only does a person benefit by having sufficient health treatment for his medical conditions but his disability case will also benefit.
Until very recently, it was near impossible for someone without medical coverage to get appropriate medical treatment that he could afford. If health insurance was not offered through employment it was also likely that purchasing coverage as an individual was cost prohibitive. After the new health care laws were implemented it has become easier for most people to access medical care and/or afford medical coverage. By no means is the process perfect or make coverage available to all who should have access. Many states have a program implemented to make affordable insurance accessible to everyone. To get into detail on this matter would require a whole other blog series but suffice it to say that someone who has lacked medical treatment in the past can now get care in most circumstances.
Social Security (SSA) is not supposed to deny someone disability benefits for lack of medical treatment. SSA can send the claimant for examinations and there are many reasons a person may lack medical treatment for reasons out of her control. A good disability advocate that is representing a disability claimant will assist his client in finding medical care to address the client’s conditions. The advocate can help the client work with her insurance provider to find a physician or to locate community healthcare for no or little cost. What one does not want to rely of if at all possible is SSA sending the claimant on an examination.
SSA examinations are usually only a one time event where the claimant is briefly examined by a physician that may or may not specialize in the area of the claimant’s alleged impairment. As I have mentioned in a previous blogs, many physicians that perform examinations for SSA operate at the highest of medical and professional standards. Not all of these physicians submit accurate reports of the claimant’s conditions, unfortunately. Perhaps these physicians believe they will no longer get business from SSA by honestly stating that a claimant may be disabled. Some of these physicians lack the ability to properly examine the claimant or simply do not thoroughly examine the claimant. These bad reports can be used against the claimant, unfortunately. Sometimes the reports are supportive of a finding of disability and somehow a creative reason is found for disregarding the findings of the examining physician by SSA. It is always best to have the claimant’s own physicians opinions on the record.
Consideration must be given to the opinions of the claimant’s own physician. Sometimes SSA will still require an additional exam from one of its physicians but having one’s own physician providing records of treatment, diagnoses, prognosis, tests, etc., is always a benefit to a claim.
One should always make sure her physicians are noting her health concerns. Keeping record of medication side effects, seizures, headaches, days where one cannot get around well due to pain, etc., are a great way to keep the physician informed of important details of the claimant’s conditions, but will also support the disability case. Always ask for a written prescription for canes and other assistive devices.
If a person is having difficulty getting healthcare treatment and he has no insurance effort must be made to get him established for care with his own physician. Some resources and information can be found at:
It may also be helpful to search the web for low-cost medical treatment in the area the claimant resides. There is often lag time before Medicaid or insurance coverage will begin, and sometimes coverage under either is unavailable for the claimant. Seeking treatment at a free clinic may be a great way to establish care.
Feel free to comment or ask questions!
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