My name is Scott Rubin of Rubin & Badame, Attorneys at Law, P.C. and I'm a Social Security Disability attorney. Our law firm handles Social Security Disability cases throughout Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland and Delaware. Often I have clients ask me whether I can be approved if I didn't follow the doctor's orders. Let's say I didn't take the medications, I didn't get the tests or follow the directions that my doctor gave me. The answer is, it depends.
Old versus new ruling
There used to be an old ruling, called 82 59. That rule said that if non-compliance with the doctor was not willful and you didn't do it on purpose then a judge cannot deny you for being non-compliant.
More recently, the new ruling 18-3P states that a doctor or nurse practitioner has to have prescribed a treatment, a medication, a surgery, a therapy, not just something like losing weight or stopping smoking. And it had to come from a doctor or a nurse practitioner.
When the judge cannot deny the claimant
However, if the doctor or the nurse practitioner prescribed the medication or surgery or therapy, and the claimant was non-compliant, there are still situations where the judge cannot deny the claimant. For example...
- If there were religious reasons or cost reasons
- If the claimant had an intense fear of a certain procedure
- If in the past, these treatments were tried and they didn't work
- If there are disagreements between medical or mental health professionals
- If the claimant is not cognizant, or just not aware
In all these cases, it's not his fault, and non-compliance cannot be used against the claimant. It's always advisable that you take your doctor's orders, but if not, it's got to be because you don't understand, or there are religious reasons, cost reasons, fears, or disagreements. It's very important that you speak to your disability attorney if your doctor tells you to do something and you just don't do it.