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Understanding Social Security Ruling 18-3p

Social Security allows numerous Americans to provide for themselves when they can no longer work. However, the Social Security Administration can still deny benefits to certain people based on a litany of reasons. One of the most common explanations you need to watch out for is a failure to follow prescribed treatments, as described in Social Security Ruling 18-3p

This ruling went into effect on October 29th, 2018. It applies to all claims that required a decision on that date and for any date afterward. This statute basically allows the administration to deny people Social Security benefits if they fail to follow their doctor's orders. It is paramount for individuals applying for Social Security to follow prescriptions precisely or have an extremely good reason for avoiding them. 

What constitutes a prescribed treatment? 

After sustaining an injury, your doctor may prescribe a treatment to help you live better and potentially even overcome your disability one day. These prescribed treatments can include taking medication, undergoing surgery and using medical equipment in your everyday life. Examples that would not constitute a prescribed treatment include exercising, dieting or quitting smoking. A doctor may suggest lifestyle changes like these, but failing to follow that advice will not compromise your claim. 

What are the exceptions?

It may be possible to still receive Social Security benefits while ignoring a prescribed treatment. For example, a certain medication may go against a person's religion. The Social Security Administration would make an exception within this case. Other exemptions include being unable to pay for such treatment and having different recommendations from separate doctors. Additionally, a person may not have the mental capacity to understand to follow through on the treatment regularly, which would likely lead to an exemption. It is also possible to seek an exemption if there is a high risk of developing an addiction to opioids after undergoing surgery or losing a limb. 

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The Law Center for Social
Security Disability

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