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Collecting Disability Benefits for Medication Side-Effects

Difficult Decisions

When an individual suffers from a life-threatening or chronic health condition, the condition itself may become disabling. Whether it is a physical or psychological illness or injury, there are often prescription medications available to treat the problem and alleviate or minimize the symptoms – as well as slow the progression of disease. Oftentimes, these prescription medications must be taken for extended periods of time, and occasionally they need to be taken for the rest of the patient’s life.

While it is always a great relief to find a medication that successfully treats your medical condition, sometimes the side-effects of that medication are difficult to live with. It is an inescapable problem, and oftentimes means making difficult decisions regarding one’s own health. The one decision no one should have to make is to stop a medication due to disabling side-effects if it is the only available treatment and the side-effects make it impossible for you to perform your job.

Side-Effects are Symptoms

Despite the rigorous testing and approval process that every medication must endure before it hits the market, some medications are the best available treatment for a life-threatening condition or a chronic health issue – despite having less-than-desirable side-effects. Standard treatment protocol often calls for a physician to prescribe the best available option, and then try to ameliorate any side-effects his or her patient might experience. This often means prescribing other drugs to counteract the side-effects of the primary prescription.

Fortunately, many medications produce few or mild side-effects in the majority of people. However, other medications cause extreme fatigue, dizziness, bowel disturbances, confusion, nausea, and an array of other debilitating conditions that can make it difficult to complete ordinary activities or maintain employment.

Because these side-effects are a result of recommended and accepted treatment protocol, side-effects are symptoms in the eyes of the Social Security Administration. When you suffer from debilitating side-effects, and are unable to continue or resume working because of them, you may be eligible for Social Security Disability. These symptoms must be considered when making a decision as to whether a claimant should be considered disabled and eligible for disability payments.

How an SSD Lawyer Near Bethlehem Can Help

While you might be well aware of how important it is to discuss any side-effects you are experiencing with your doctor for medical reasons, you might not realize how vital it is to carefully explain, in great detail, how these side-effects are affecting your day-to-day activities. Documenting this information is imperative in case you need to file for SSD or SSI. When you work with our knowledgeable SSD lawyer near Bethlehem, we can explain exactly what information will be required and how it needs to be recorded by your primary care provider.

Why Documentation is so Important

Judges often examine a claimant’s medical records to help determine the validity of the claim. It will be extremely helpful to have your medical records reflect the ongoing problems you have been suffering with during treatment, including any serious side-effects you are experiencing as well as how they have affected your daily activities.

Nowadays, most medical offices utilize computerized systems that list common side-effects as a checklist that the nurse will ask you about prior to seeing your doctor. While this type of documentation is better than none at all, it’s not nearly as effective as having detailed, written commentary notated by your physician.

When your treating physician records everything correctly, it can make a big difference when it comes to making your case for SSD or SSI payments. It is also important for you to do your part by making sure you provide specific information about how each symptom / side-effect is affecting your ability to function and complete normal daily activities. You will also need to mention these side-effects when you are filling out daily activity or disability forms. Again, not just stating what they are, but detailing how they affect your ability to complete your daily tasks.

What You Should Report in Order to File for SSD or SSI in Bethlehem

Are you experiencing extreme fatigue while taking your medication? If you find you need to nap for several hours per day due to an overwhelming feeling of exhaustion, this symptom alone may prevent you from being able to work.

Do you find you simply can’t focus or concentrate on anything? Is it difficult or impossible to manage your calendar or your financial transactions?

Does the medication you take cause pain and stiffness in your joints? Do you find it difficult to grocery shop? Are you experiencing pain that disrupts your sleep? Do you need to take mediation for the pain that makes you dizzy or groggy?

Don’t forget to provide detailed examples of what you are dealing with, for instance: Are you having digestive issues? Diarrhea? Nausea? Loss of appetite? Are these episodes predictable?

When you are filing for SSI in Bethlehem, the importance of having your healthcare provider document each side-effect – and how these symptoms diminish your ability to function – cannot be over-emphasized.

The Social Security Administration demands “credible medical evidence” in order to make a decision. Meticulous documentation of each symptom and resulting limitations, whether caused by injury, illness, or side-effects of treatment are vital to a successful claim. It is especially important to list anything that interferes with or precludes your ability to work or maintain your normal daily routine.

If you or someone you care about is suffering due to an injury, illness, or side-effects of prescribed treatment, you may be eligible for SSD or SSI payments. Reach out to our dedicated Social Security Disability Lawyers at Leventhal Sutton & Gornstein for more information on medical side-effects disability claims – or with any other questions you may have.

Posted on December 28th, 2020 by Leventhal, Sutton and Gornstein

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