All Disability. All The Time.

Can you refuse treatment and still get SSDI?

On Behalf of | Oct 18, 2023 | Social Security Disability |

To obtain Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) benefits, you generally have to show not only that you have a condition that qualifies as disabling under the Social Security Administration’s (SSA’s) rules, but that you’ve done your best to get better.

That makes any refusal to follow your doctor’s prescribed course of treatment problematic. From the SSA’s perspective, it doesn’t make sense to give you disability benefits if there’s a fair possibility that treatment would either cure your condition or make it manageable. However, that doesn’t mean that you’re absolutely locked into a treatment plan that you don’t want to follow.

SSA will accept reasonable explanations for a refusal

Essentially, if you want to be approved for SSDI benefits, you have to show “good cause” for refusing a recommended treatment plan. While you can present any explanation you want, some of the most commonly approved reasons applicants give for refusal include:

  • You are a legitimate member of a religion that does not permit adherents to receive certain kinds of medical treatments.
  • You lack medical insurance through no fault of your own and cannot obtain the treatment at a cost that’s affordable to you through free or subsidized clinics.
  • The treatment you refused was opioid medication and you declined because of the risk of addiction.
  • The treatment involves surgery that could potentially cause a loss of vision, the amputation of a limb or result in death.
  • The treatment involves major surgery and you’ve already had a similar or the same surgery before without success.
  • The treatment involves surgery and you have a documented, intense fear – to the point that your own medical source thinks that it would be counterproductive.
  • You have received different medical opinions about treatment from different physicians and they contradict each other.

Filing a successful claim for SSDI benefits isn’t easy, and there are often complications like these to navigate. Ultimately, seeking qualified legal guidance can make the process much easier.