Social Security Disability and Medication Side Effects
In some instances, the medication prescribed for a condition could have side effects that could prevent you from working to support yourself and your family.
If you suffer from prescription medication side effects that make it difficult or impossible to keep working, you might wonder whether you are eligible for Social Security Disability benefits. At The Disability Law Firm, we can help you determine your eligibility and seek SSD benefits if you meet the criteria.
For more than two decades, Attorney Robert Alston and his team have provided knowledgeable counsel to people with disabling conditions in Florida. You can expect to be treated like family when you turn to our firm for help with your disability benefits claim. We maintain regular communication with our clients and are always available to discuss your case by phone, text, or email. After your case resolves, our door will always be open to you if we can assist you with another issue.
If you have questions about how side effects you experience from your medication might affect your Social Security Disability claim, reach out to The Disability Law Firm today for an initial case evaluation.
Types of Side Effects from Medication
People are prescribed medications for a wide variety of physical and mental conditions, such as hypertension or heart disease, neurological diseases, cancer, or chronic mental health conditions like clinical depression, bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia.
While treating potentially fatal diseases or managing the symptoms of other medical conditions, these medications could also have serious side effects of their own. Common side effects from medications include:
- Chronic fatigue
- Cardiovascular problems
- Suppressed immune systems and increased susceptibility to infection
- Persistent nausea and vomiting
- Persistent headaches, migraines, and vertigo
- Anxiety and depression
Are Side-Effects Symptoms?
Side effects from the medication you have been prescribed might be considered symptoms in the disability determination process. Some people may suffer from serious medical conditions and receive medications that treat or relieve the symptoms of that condition. However, those medications may cause side effects that can be disabling for the patient.
For example, a person with cancer may have to undergo aggressive chemotherapy and radiation. While the treatments may help with the cancer, they often can cause disabling side effects such as severe fatigue, weakness, nausea, and vomiting. Or a person treating severe pain may be prescribed strong pain medication that causes side effects like drowsiness or difficulty concentrating.
Side effects may be considered symptoms in a disability evaluation when they have an impact on a person’s ability to perform the duties of their job or other jobs that exist in substantial numbers in the national economy.
Can You Get Disability for Side Effects of Medication?
In some instances, you could obtain Social Security Disability benefits due to disabling side effects from medication. To claim these benefits, you will need to show:
- You have been legally prescribed the medication you are taking, and you are not abusing the prescribed medication. The Social Security Act automatically disqualifies anyone disabled by drug or alcohol abuse from disability benefits. Even if you have been legally prescribed drugs, a disability claim may be denied if the disabling side effects of that medication occur due to abuse of those drugs, such as abuse of opioids.
- The side effects of your medication prevent you from performing the essential functions of your job or other types of employment. While side effects of your medication might leave you unable to perform personal tasks such as house cleaning or driving, the Social Security Administration will focus on how the side effects impact your ability to perform the functions of your job or other forms of employment.
- You must have experienced side effects from your medication for at least 12 months, or you are expected to experience the side effects for at least 12 months. The Social Security Administration’s definition of “disabled” includes a requirement that the disabling condition last or be expected to last for at least 12 months or result in the applicant’s death. Even if you experience severely disabling side effects from medication, you will not qualify for Social Security disability benefits if you are expected to take that medication for only a brief time, and the side effects are expected to clear up once you stop taking the medication.
What Medications Qualify for Disability Based on Their Side Effects?
Examples of medications that may cause side effects that disable a person from being able to work include:
- Lithium, which is used to treat severe mental illnesses
- Interferon, which refers to a family of antiviral medications used to treat diseases like hepatitis and COVID-19, as well as certain cancers
- Chemotherapy and radiation therapy for cancer
- Depakote, which is used to treat ADHD, bipolar disorder, and seizures
- Xanax, which is used to treat anxiety disorders
- Opioids such as morphine or Percocet, which are used to treat severe, chronic pain
Any medication whose side effects render a person unable to sit, stand, or walk for long periods, perform manual tasks, concentrate, or remember things may qualify an individual for Social Security Disability benefits.
What You Should Report to File for SSD or SSI in Florida
You would need to provide your medical records and other medical evidence to claim disability benefits for side effects that you experience from prescription medication. These records are necessary to show your diagnosis and need for the medication. Your records should also reflect your symptoms and side effects from your treatment.
You will also need to provide evidence that the side effects from your medication make it impossible for you to perform the essential functions of your job or of other common jobs you could potentially hold. That often requires testimony from yourself, your co-workers, and family and friends who have observed the side effects you are experiencing.
Contact Our Experienced Social Security Disability Lawyers Today
If you need help pursuing a Social Security Disability benefits claim due to side effects from medication, contact us online or call The Disability Law Firms for a free and confidential consultation. Our experienced Florida Social Security Disability law firm is ready to evaluate your situation and help you determine the best course of action for seeking the benefits you need.