Effects of Opioid Pain Medication on Your Disability Claim.18 Sep
Marken Law Group, PS, has helped hundreds of people obtain Social Security Disability benefits. We do not charge a fee unless you get the benefits you deserve.
The country is currently in the midst of an Opioid epidemic of incredible proportions. Hospitals and health care providers are limiting supply, or in the alternative, providing pain contracts or looking for alternatives to narcotic pain medication.
If you have been taking opioid pain medication and are applying for disability the adjudicators and case managers will be looking for several facts in your medical record. First; have your doctors, counselors indicated “drug-seeking” behavior? This can kill your claim because it attacks your credibility. The only way you will know is going over your COMPLETE medical record with your attorney. Secondly, have you lost your medication or needed a refill quicker than the prescribed time period? While a doctor might not specifically say “drug seeking” it will be implied and needs to be addressed. Third, is there evidence of marijuana or excessive alcohol use in your medical record? If there is, this also needs to be addressed as this will damage your credibility with respect to even prescribed opioid pain medication.
*Note (If you want to dive deeper into Social Security’s drug and alcohol interpretation, please click the link here.)
If you are taking opioid pain medication, the Social Security adjudicators and case managers handling your disability claim will want evidence in your medical record you tried to solve the issue for needing pain medication. What does this mean practically? If you have degenerative disc disease, for instance, the Social Security Administration will want to see you attended physical therapy, chiropractic work, saw an orthopedic surgeon for a consult and/or received steroid injections or surgery. The disability adjudicators want to see attempts to not be on pain medication. The worst possibility for your claim is if your medical records display somehow who simply goes to their primary care doctor for refills on pain medication.
A few tips from my experience in front of countless administrative law judges. I have represented many clients who do not take pain medication, for various reasons, and they have been applauded by the administrative law judges. Years of opioid pain medication typically will damage credibility because even though it is prescribed by a doctor, they are narcotics associated with abuse.
The way the sentiment is in popular culture, with hundreds of thousands of overdose deaths, and the medical insurance industry, opioid pain medication is going to be hard to obtain in the future. The irony is, medical or recreational marijuana will damage your credibility even if used for pain. Social Security is a federal institution and marijuana is still illegal at the federal level. I have had many clients use occasional marijuana rather than opioid pain medication to their detriment.
There can be many problems associated with opioid pain medication and your Social Security Disability claim. Call Marken Law Group, PS, about scheduling a free consultation. No Benefits, No Fee!