Many individuals are on medications to help manage the conditions that cause their disabilities. While these medications are often effective at managing the symptoms, they often come with side effects that can be as bothersome as the symptoms the medication resolves. However, they are a necessary evil to provide relief or even cure the ailment. Some of the most common side effects include confusion and fatigue. It’s important to learn how these medical side effects can play a role in your Social Security disability claim.
Social Security disability law dictates the side effects of any prescribed medications must be counted as symptoms of the disease they treat and must be taken into account as part of the determination of a disability.
For this reason, it is critical to let your doctor know if you are experiencing any side effects. Not only does this provide the doctor with valuable information about your condition and how it is affecting you, but it allows them to note it in your medical records. Judges will look at these records to determine if you are eligible for disability. It is crucial for this information to be on your record, rather than just taking your word for it. To make this process easier, many physicians today use a digital checklist of symptoms to track them. However, it can carry more weight if your doctor actually comments on the side effects.
In addition, it’s important to mention any side effects when you fill out daily activity and disability forms. When your side effects are noted in both locations, the judge will clearly see how these symptoms affect you, as well as what you are experiencing.
For instance, if you are fatigued, you may need to rest or nap often, which may make working full time impossible. Problems with concentration and confusion may make it difficult to focus on work. Memory issues can make it difficult to track appointments, manage finances or even go grocery shopping. The more detailed your examples are, the more powerful they become. Do you experience any digestive side effects, such as a decrease or increase in appetite, nausea, diarrhea or weight loss? Do you suffer from neuropathy?
Your health care providers should include all of your symptoms and any side effects on an ongoing basis within your records. The Social Security Administration requires credible medical evidence to make a decision. This makes it important to list all limitations and symptoms, regardless of whether they are caused by the illness, injury or your medication.
In short, anything that can negatively impact your ability to work full time should be documented by your doctor. Contact us to learn how medical side effects can impact your disability claim.
WEB MD – Learn about the most common side effects of medications.
NIH – The National Institutes of Health lists valuable information on drug interactions and potential side effects.