Medical Side Effects
Disability Benefits for Medical Side-Effects
Individuals suffering from any medical condition or disability are often prescribed medications to manage their condition. Standard treatment according to medical protocol is used to determine which medications are indicated for both medical and psychiatric symptoms.
Despite a medication being approved for a certain use, it can often cause troublesome side-effects that can be as debilitating as the original illness. However, it is often a choice of treating a life-threatening illness and suffering less-than-lethal side-effects, or not treating the illness and living with the worsening symptoms of the original condition.
Side-effects can be mild, or they can cause extreme fatigue, confusion, dizziness, nausea, bowel disturbances, and a plethora of other debilitating conditions that make it impossible to maintain gainful employment. Therefore, when you suffer from side-effects of prescribed medication, you may be eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI).
Side-Effects are Symptoms
When a claimant suffers from serious side-effects of any medication prescribed by their physician, by law, these are “symptoms” and must be considered when determining whether the claimant is disabled and eligible for Social Security Disability payments.
If you are experiencing significant side-effects to any medication you have been prescribed, it is vital that you tell you doctor about them at every appointment. Most importantly, it is necessary for your doctor to know how a given medication is affecting you – as this is an important aspect of your treatment plan. Furthermore, if the side-effects become disabling and you need to file an SSDI claim, it is important to have these symptoms documented. Judges look to medical records to help them determine how credible the claimant is.
It will be very helpful if your medical records reflect the issues you have been dealing with in regard to your medication. Now that most medical professionals use computerized medical records, you will likely answer “yes” or “no” to a predetermined list of symptoms at the beginning of your visit. This is better than nothing, but actual commentary by the treating physician carries more weight. So, be specific and explain not only what side-effects you are experiencing, but exactly how these symptoms are affecting your daily life.
Additionally, it is important for you to mention any side-effects when filling out daily activity and disability forms. Again, it is important to not simply state what the side-effects are, but how they are affecting your ability to function and complete ordinary tasks.
Examples of What Should be Reported
Does a particular medication bring on extreme fatigue? If the patient needs to lie down for several hours each day, this alone may preclude full-time work.
Is concentration disrupted to the point of not being able to focus? Is it difficult for the patient to manage his or her finances? Track appointments? Or even shop for groceries?
Detailed examples are immensely powerful – For instance: Is the patient suffering digestive side-effects? Nausea? Diarrhea? Decrease/increase in appetite? Weight loss?
It cannot be over-emphasized how important it is for healthcare providers to include all side-effects and symptoms, and how each one affects the patient, in the ongoing medical records. The SSA requires “credible medical evidence” upon which to base a decision. All symptoms and limitations should be meticulously documented, whether caused by disease, injury, or medication side-effects, paying special attention to anything that interferes with the ability to carry on daily activities or hold down a full-time job.
Consult with a Knowledgeable Social Security Disability Lawyer Near San Leandro
Reach out to our Social Security Disability lawyer near San Leandro for more information on medical side-effects and disability claims.