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Ledgerwood Law Group

Not Following Your Physician’s Orders when Applying for California SSDI?

When you file a claim for SSI or SSDI in Northern California, your medical history will be closely scrutinized. If your application demonstrates a lot of diagnostic claims but little or no evidence of treatment, the Administrative Law Judge deciding your case may not give a lot of weight to your claims. In fact, if you haven’t made any attempt to obtain a diagnosis or treatment for your disabilities, you could have a very hard time find an attorney willing to handle your case.

It’s true that sometimes applicants can have valid reasons for not complying with recommended treatment. The SSA may give special consideration to an applicant who isn’t following up on treatment when:

  • You can’t afford treatment and you have no access to low-cost or free medical care.
  • A component of your disability makes it very difficult to reliably maintain a course of treatment, as in the case of many mental illnesses or intellectual handicaps.
  • The side effects of your treatment options are more difficult to deal with than your untreated condition.
  • Your physician has told you that there is not a reasonable treatment option for your condition.
  • The type of treatment or treatment in general goes against your religious beliefs.
  • You don’t have insurance coverage, or you do not have sufficient insurance coverage.

When your reasons for not following up on doctor’s orders are financial, you will need to demonstrate evidence of trying to obtain any low-cost or free medical care in your area. Contact your county’s hospital district or the California Health and Human Services Agency for more information, and be sure to carefully document all the steps you take in this process, even if you are unsuccessful.

Even if your reason for not following a recommended course of treatment is extremely compelling, it is in your best interests to keep records of every appointment, every recommendation, and everything you are doing to deal with your symptoms. 

If your reasons for non-compliance are mentioned in the list above, being forthcoming with your documentation may help your claim move forward. Without knowing about the work you’ve put toward trying to resolve the issue before applying for disability benefits, the disability examiner may not be able to appreciate the extent of your hardships.

If you are unable to comply with treatment or have other special circumstances in your Social Security disability benefits case, speaking with a knowledgeable and compassionate North Valley disability benefits attorney may be in your best interests. Call our offices at 888.761.7383 to schedule a free case review today.


Thomas Ledgerwood
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Proprietor Ledgerwood Law Group