Woman with a fracture at the doctor's office.

Can You Still Receive SSD Benefits if You Refuse Surgical Treatment?

When you’re struggling with a disability it’s always important to follow the treatment instructions of your medical provider. One such treatment option that may be provided to certain individuals, depending upon their condition, is surgical intervention. However, not everyone is quick to go under the knife. Unfortunately, though, refusing to have surgery could impact the outcome of your disability claim.

Improvement Possible Through Surgery

Although this isn’t a hard and fast rule, generally speaking, if you apply to the Social Security Administration (SSA), and request disability benefits, but have refused a surgery that could improve your physical impairment, it’s likely that your claim could be denied. This is because the federal government, which is responsible for social security disability (SSD) benefits doesn’t want to pay benefits to people who don’t follow recommended treatment. This is not to say that you have no choice as to whether or not you undergo surgery or any other treatment. It just means that your choice may impact what you receive – or don’t. 

In order for the surgery to be a big factor for the SSA, the surgery must:

  1. Be such that it could fix your impairment and allow you to return to work;
  2. Be specific and not general advice; and
  3. Be ordered by your doctor. 

Failure to Follow Prescribed Treatment

Before it will deny you of benefits for “failure to follow prescribed treatment,” the SSA must find certain things. In order to deny your claim for SSD, the SSA must find that all of the following are true:

  1. Your impairment prevents you from doing any work;
  2. Your impairment has lasted, or is expected to last, at least 12 months;
  3. Your treating doctor has prescribed surgery to treat your condition;
  4. The surgery is expected to restore your ability to work;
  5. Your medical records document that you have been prescribed the surgery and have refused to have it.

It’s important to note that if you had this surgery or others similar to this one before that failed to improve your condition or have improved it as much as is likely, it’s unlikely that the SSA will deny your claim because you refuse to have the same procedure again. 

Ultimately, it is your choice what you do with and to your body. But it’s important to understand how those decisions may affect your potential benefits. 

The Las Vegas SSD Attorneys at Roeschke Law, LLC Can Help

If you or a loved one is struggling with a disability that prevents you from working, you may not know how to proceed. Fortunately, the attorneys at Roeschke Law, LLC can help. We understand the impact that a disability can have on your physical, emotional, and financial health. That’s why it’s our mission to help you. To learn more, or to schedule a consultation, contact us today!