Can Floridians keep SSD without following a treatment plan?

On Behalf of | Oct 28, 2015 | Social Security Disability

Florida residents who are seeking Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits or are already receiving SSD benefits will have many questions about receiving an approval or retaining benefits. A question that is often asked is what will happen if the prescribed treatments are not followed and if the SSD benefits will be denied or discontinued. If receiving the prescribed treatment violates the religious beliefs of the claimant or the recipient, then it might not be required to have the treatment. The person must reject the treatment and say that he or she is a member of a church that promotes that faith and praying is a healing strategy. The church must be identified and the church authorities must verify that the person is a member of that church.

If a person needs to have cataract extraction for one eye and the visual efficiency of the other is limited and cannot be repaired with treatment, it might not violate the requirements. A claimant who has a fear of surgery that is so severe that it contraindicates surgery might not be deemed as avoiding treatment. The treating source who recommended surgery must decide that the fear is so significant that the person is not a surgery candidate. Subsequently, there is no way to “fail” to follow through on treatment. It is also possible to refuse to have surgery based on another’s recommendation that the surgery did not help or made worse that which was supposed to be treated by the surgery.

A treating source who provided treatment to the claimant or beneficiary might say that the prescribed treatment will not improve the condition. This will mean there are opposing sources with different opinions. If the claimant follows the advice of the source not recommending treatment, it is not a failure. A treatment that has a major risk such as organ transplant will not result in failure if there is a refusal. If the treatment dictates there be an amputation and the claimant refuses, it is not a failure to follow prescribed treatment.

While it might seem that it is obvious for a person who refuses prescribed treatment to be violating federal regulations for Social Security disability, which is not always the case. Those who have questions about their disability status and the requirements for receiving or retaining benefits when not following the treatment protocol should speak to a legal professional about their case.

Source:, “SSR 82-59: Titles II and XVI: Failure to Follow Prescribed Treatment — Justifiable Cause for Failure to Follow Prescribed Treatment,” accessed on Oct. 26, 2015


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