People in California who are applying for Social Security Disability (SSD) or SSI benefits may face a range of challenges and complicated requirements. In light of the documentation necessary to prove that one is truly disabled, many may be concerned that they must take prescription medication in order to be approved for benefits. The Social Security Administration does not define any disabling condition by the presence or absence of a medication prescription, and there is no case in which taking prescribed pharmaceuticals is a requirement to receive disability benefits.

However, if the claimant for Social Security Disability benefits is citing a disabling condition that is typically improved by medication, a disability examiner may ask why the claimant is not currently taking that medication. These questions may escalate significantly if the applicant has never tried the medications available. In particular, the examiner may question whether the applicant’s disability would continue to render them unable to work if they took medication.

People with epilepsy, asthma and depression can often control their conditions with prescribed medications; while these treatments do not work for everyone, it can be difficult to obtain disability benefits without a record of attempting mediation usage. Some disability examiners may believe that SSD applicants who have not taken medication for their illness do not have severe conditions or that the claimant’s doctor does not believe their disorder to be sufficiently troubling to prescribe medication.

In order to make a successful application for Social Security Disability benefits, proper medical documentation can be critical to achieving one’s goals. For many applicants with limited funds or severe disabilities, a lack of sufficient medical documentation can still be a reason for a negative decision. Working with a disability lawyer may help people applying for SSD benefits to accumulate the necessary documents and prepare their application to best demonstrate their disability and the need for benefits.