Non-compliant.  That is one of the worst things I can see when I review your medical records as I prepare for your social security disability hearing.  Non-compliant means that the doctor has told you to do something, such as lose weight or stop smoking or take the medicines that he prescribed, yet you are not following the doctor’s orders.  This doesn’t sit well with social security judges, and they may deny your case on “non-compliance” alone.

However, the Social Security Administration recognizes certain legitimate excuses for failing to follow prescribed therapy.

Acceptable medical excuses. Non-compliance can be excused for reasons beyond your control.  For example:

  • You have a mental illness so severe that you cannot comply with prescribed therapy.
  • You have a fear of surgery so intense that surgery would not be appropriate. Your treating doctor must confirm the severity of your fear to the Disability Determination Services consulting doctor.
  • You physically cannot follow prescribed therapy without assistance — for example, because of paralysis of the arms or cataracts caused by diabetes.

Acceptable non-medical excuses. It is possible that you are non-compliant for a reason that has nothing to do with your medical condition. Acceptable non-medical excuses for non-compliance may be:

  • You don’t have the money to pay for treatment.
  • Your religious beliefs prohibit you from receiving medical therapy.
  • Your doctor prescribes treatment that another doctor disagrees with.

For the Social Security Administration to deny your claim for non-compliance, the therapy that you fail to follow must be one that is clearly expected to restore your ability to do substantial gainful activity. If your treating doctor tells the Social Security Administration that the prescribed therapy is not likely to result in your ability to work, the Social Security Administration won’t fault you if you don’t follow such therapy.

Most judges will still hold non-compliance against you, even if you say that you do not have the money for treatment, if the area that you live in has an active indigent care program.  You must attempt to try to get better!