Many people reach a level in their treatment where going to the doctor or the hospital simply is not going to cure their impairment or condition. It becomes pointless to keep seeking medical attention.
But, that is not the reason why the Social Security Administration determines whether or not a person is disabled.
In order to be disabled, there has to be a determination that there are no jobs within the national economy a person would be capable of performing even with his or her impairment. In other words, it is not important whether or not you can be cured of your illness, but what your medical records show as to your limitations to work.
Most people find they need to change their mindset in regards to treatment when applying for Social Security disability. It's not going to the doctor or hospital to be cured, but to build evidence to support their allegations that they are too ill to work. At the hearing level, I have never heard a judge ask a claimant why he or she has not received the required surgery or treatment to be cured. Most people by this point in time have not been working for two years or more, and simply do not have the money to pay for additional treatment other than immediate help to relieve their symptoms. Therefore, if the medical evidence supports the allegation that a person is unable to work at any job, he or she will usually be approved for disability benefits.
Now, this takes us to what should a person do after being approved for Social Security disability? If a person is approved for SSI, then he or she will have access to Medicaid. If a person is approved for SSDI, then he or she will have access to Medicare after two years. Even still, with having access to government health care assistance, it may be unlikely a person will be able to possibly qualify for expensive procedures or unnecessary surgeries.
But again, sometimes that isn't the reason why you should still be going to the doctor, even if you have been approved for Social Security disability.
Most people, even when they are approved for disability benefits will be required to go through a reconsideration of their case after three years. The Social Security Administration will likely not consider the medical records they used to prove their impairment or condition before they received benefits. The Administration will want to see recent medical treatment that still shows their inability to work. Within those three years, a person still needs to be seeking medical treatment for his or her condition, even if going to the doctor or hospital is unlikely to make their condition better. Again, it's a change of mindset. Sometimes you are not so much going for treatment as you are establishing you are still unable to work through new and recent medical records.
It's an odd analogy, but it works. I tell my clients, pretend your case is nothing more than a dead body. Now, we have to prove "who done it." Thus, in a criminal case, there must be evidence to prove the crime. In the same respect, for a Social Security disability case, there must be medical evidence to prove you are not able to work. Therefore again, it's not so much you are seeking medical assistance for treatment alone, but that through your medical evidence, you cannot work. -This applies to both when you are originally seeking disability benefits and when your review period arises to see if you are still disabled.
Time and time again, we have people call the office asking for assistance during their review period. If a person has not been seeking treatment after their disability case was approved, then it is very likely the Social Security Administration will determine they are no longer disabled and should be able to return back to work. To make matters worse, it seems oftentimes that it is harder to stay on disability than it was to receive it the first time.
So, what's your best bet? Keep going to the doctor or hospital every three months to keep documenting your disabling condition. Without medical evidence to back up your claim that you are disabled, you're going to have just as much of a hard time keeping your benefits as you will being approved the first time.
We represent claimants throughout Texas and California seeking their Social Security disability benefits. If you need representation, you may always call our office at: (888) 780-9125.