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Can I lose my SSD benefits for refusing medical treatment?

On Behalf of | Jan 9, 2020 | Social Security Disability

Applying for Social Security Disability benefits is a complex process that requires a lot of paperwork and patience. When you either receive approval for your claim or successfully appeal an initial denial, you might think that the worst of the process is behind you. However, although you are getting SSD benefits now, there is always a chance you can lose them in the future.

Obviously, you may no longer get benefits if your medical condition improves to a point where you are no longer disabled and can return to work. However, it is possible for people who are still disabled to have their benefits taken away.

Refusing to follow doctor orders may cause a loss of benefits

Your doctor has an obligation to regularly check your symptoms and stay up to date on the best options for your condition. You have an obligation to follow through with your doctor’s recommendations and treatment plans. Health care professionals are working to improve your quality of life and reduce the effect your injury or illness has on your daily life.

If you don’t follow the medical plan ordered for your condition, you could be at risk of losing your SSDI benefits. If you don’t take your prescriptions, follow through with physical therapy exercises or follow the treatment plan ordered, the Social Security Administration may determine that you are not trying to get better. In that situation, you may lose your benefits.

You have the right to reasonably deny certain medical treatments

You do not have to accept everything your health care provider says to do. You always have the option to seek a second opinion, as well as to challenge the medical care plan suggested by your physician.

You can refuse to do certain treatments or take certain medications, provided that you have a reasonable explanation for doing so. Acceptable reasons could include:

  • Not taking opioids because you worry about addiction
  • Refusing a cutting-edge therapy that has high out-of-pocket costs
  • Refusing certain procedures, such as blood transfusions, that violate your religious beliefs
  • Having a severe fear related to surgery or specific treatments

Additionally, if a recommended treatment has serious side effects or increases your risk of death or future injury, you can reasonably reject that recommendation.

You are not powerless. You have rights and options, but you need to stand up for yourself.


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