You tried for a long time to find a way to keep working, but you struggle with mental health issues that have only worsened over time.
You need to file for Social Security Disability (SSD) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI), but you’re worried that the gaps in your medical records and the fact that you haven’t always kept up with your recommended treatment will hurt you. Is there anything you can do?
Even if you have gaps in treatment, file a claim
Gaps in medical treatment are common, especially among disability claimants who have mental health conditions. So are issues with following a doctor’s prescribed treatment plan. Social Security even has policies in place that are designed to assess such issues.
Gaps in treatment and the failure to follow a doctor’s orders can be used to deny disability claims (on the idea that either the claimant isn’t really as sick as they allege or that they could get better if they followed their provider’s plan of care).
You can overcome issues with gaps in treatment or the failure to follow your doctor’s orders through a number of explanations. Some of the most common include:
- You have received different medical opinions: Maybe one doctor told you that you were bipolar but another said you were schizophrenic. Knowing what to do when you get conflicting instructions can be hard even if you aren’t struggling with mental health problems.
- You couldn’t afford treatment: Medical care, therapy visits and medication cost money. If you have had periods of time where you couldn’t afford treatment or couldn’t afford to stay on medication, that’s understandable.
- You simply couldn’t comply: It can be difficult for people who have severe mental health issues to comply with treatment simply because they don’t always understand the importance or necessity of doing so.
This is not an insurmountable situation. Whether you’re looking into your own SSD or SSI claim or helping a friend or relative, it’s often wise to get some experienced assistance — especially if your disability claim was already denied.