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In the midsouth region of the United States and the Memphis metro area, there are several notable medical research hospitals and treatment centers. Medical technology has improved significantly since the 1990s. Cancer treatments are perhaps the best example. In the 1990s, even early-stage cancer was often untreatable. Today, at least in most cases, early stage cancer is not only treatable. It’s also manageable and often even curable. Children with cancer come from all over the world to Memphis, Tennessee St. Jude Cancer Research Hospital. Although families that come to St. Jude never receive a bill for medical treatments, Heermans Social Security and Disability Law Firm can help the parents of a child being treated at St. Jude, apply for social security childhood disability payments to help support the child and family. 

Changes of increased access to medical treatments have impacted our lives for the better in almost all areas. But for a Heermans, SSI lawyer near you, the news carries significant impact affecting the trends in Social Security Disability Insurance. Improved medical treatment technology, specifically new and better medicines, is one reason that SSDI approval ratings have declined significantly since 1996. The combination of more applicants and less money available, is an even bigger reason. More people want a tasty piece of a shrinking financial pie. Other factors include the financial tradeoff between continued employment and SSDI benefits and the nature of the process itself, mostly the discouragingly-high denial rate, particularly for those who represent themselves when they apply for social security disability benefits. 

For purposes of this article, we’ll focus on the relationship between medicine and SSDI. In a nutshell, if available medication either eliminates the symptoms or reduces them to the point they aren’t disabling, SSDI benefits are probably unavailable. However, for the reasons outlined below, not everyone can take every medication that’s on pharmacy shelves.

The interaction of medicine and SSDI is a case-by-case determination. Therefore, advocacy is important. At the Heermans Social Security Disability Law Firm, our SSA law firm provides the aggressive representation you need. Basically, when we take your case, we don’t take “no” for an answer. Instead, we keep working to obtain the benefits you need and deserve.


Today’s drugs are more expensive than ever, as outlined below. They’re also more powerful than ever. Powerful medication can also mean powerful side-effects. You’ve probably noticed this phenomenon in TV drug ads. Frequently, the list of potential side-effects is almost as long, or longer than the list of potential benefits.

Different people have different abilities to “handle” or tolerate medical treatment. Some people have no tolerance for side-effects. Others can only tolerate low doses of certain medicines. The tricky part of treatment levels comes when a person cannot tolerate a level that is high enough to effectively combat and treat their medical condition.


People in densely-populated urban areas usually have ready access to the latest medicines. Demand is high, so deliveries are common. Furthermore, large urban areas have forward-thinking doctors who are willing to prescribe cutting-edge medications, particularly to patients who have enough money to pay for these progressive drugs.

However, not everyone lives in such high population urban locations. Ten (10) percent of Americans, or about thirty-five million people, don’t even have stable high speed internet access. As for advanced medications, if the demand is low, drug shipping companies may send their supply elsewhere. Additionally, an applicant’s treating physician might refuse to prescribe a certain medicine. Since the Covid-19 pandemic, access and distribution of most all goods has been affected as well. 

The bottom line is there’s a difference between theoretical availability and practical availability. To a Heermans disability lawyer near you, practical availability is what counts for our clients.


This factor is closely related to the previous one. Cost is a practical barrier to medication. We all know how high inflation has been rising recently. In 2021 alone, half of all drug prices increased faster than inflation, in some cases seven or eight times faster. This may or may not be connected to the global economy, but 2022 seems to be going the same direction. 

Some people are basically immune to these increases. Their medical insurance plan pays most of the cost. But others have seen a rise in insurance plan deductibles or have to pay out of their pocket at the time of treatment and then submit a request for reimbursement later. Also, many people don’t have insurance and insurance plans don’t cover all drugs.

So, this financial reason not to take medication is a little lower on our list. Things like tolerance levels and medication availability affect everyone. Medication costs, while they are out-of-control high, don’t affect everyone.


Now, we get to some of the more controversial reasons for not taking certain medications. The more controversial the reason is, the more you need a Heermans SSI disability lawyer in Memphis and throughout the midsouth region of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Arkansas

Before we discuss some specific issues in this area, we should talk about the way most medications work. Typically, the patient must have a therapeutic level of mediation in his/her body. If the level is slightly too low, the patient might as well not be taking the medicine, because it will not produce effective treatment results. So, it’s important to take the exact dosage, at the right time and as often as recommended and prescribed by the doctor.

Traumatic brain injuries, many of which are collision-related, people who struggle with chronic illnesses, and people who must take multiple doses of multiple medicines – are the three (3) biggest lack of discipline examples when applying for social security disability.

Head injuries are among the most common disabling conditions in Tennessee, and memory loss is one of the most common head injury symptoms. We all forget things from time to time. But, usually a smartphone alarm, a weekly pill minder box that divides pills by day, or a gentle nudge from a spouse or loved one, is enough to overcome the “life is busy” memory loss. 

Head injury-related memory loss is different. Basically, these individuals not only lose their memories. They lose the ability to multitask. If Sam’s medicine alert goes off and his wife says something to him on his way to the medicine cabinet, he might still not take his medicine, or at least he might not take it right there and on time.

The effect is a little different for people struggling with epilepsy or other chronic disabling illnesses. Mental illnesses, like bi-polar depression or schizophrenia, are even better examples, since these individuals procrastinate or aren’t able to think clearly. Frequently, these patients experience episodes of going in and out of conditions for several weeks or months at a time and may think, “hey, I’m feeling better and I don’t need my medicine.”

So, they stop taking it, or they at least start skipping doses. These issues are especially common for people who live alone and don’t have anyone to monitor or lovingly nag them about taking their medicine intake.

Legally, head injury-related discipline problems are often a legitimate excuse for not taking medicine. Chronic illness lack of discipline is often seen or judged as an empty excuse. Although some doctors argue that this is a symptom of the disease as well. 


As many as a third of people have pharmacophobia, which is basically an unreasonable, yet real, fear of taking medicine. 

The aforementioned medication side-effects are a good example. In most cases, adverse side-effects, especially serious side-effects, are low. Generally, the possibility of an adverse result shouldn’t prevent people from taking prescribed medication, especially if they work closely with their doctors and take it as prescribed.

But phobias are unreasonable fears. These individuals are so afraid of the side-effects or other possible adverse results that they’re physically incapable of taking their medicine.

People can usually overcome pharmacophobia, just like they can overcome most other phobias. However, sometimes the phobia is a permanent behavioral barrier. In other words, no matter how many group therapy sessions they attend, some people cannot convince themselves to take their pills.


At this point, we’re basically at the bottom of the list for the relationship between medication and receiving SSDI benefits. There are various reasons why people don’t want to take medicine, get vaccinated, or get treatment. Usually, the law respects individual choices in these areas. SSDI isn’t one of those areas. Basically, if you don’t want to take your medicine, the SSA probably will not award you monthly disability checks. Heermans Social Security Disability Law Firm is aware of a few exceptions that were available in extreme circumstances, but these are very few.

The Heermans Law Firm has a record of successfully helping children and adults experiencing disabling conditions apply, or re-apply if they have been denied, for SSA disability benefits. When you have a Heermans attorney by your side, we don’t let your disability make getting disability benefits more difficult – we make it easier by doing the heavy lifting for you!! 

For a FREE DISABILITY EVALUATION, contact the Heermans Social Security Disability attorneys 24/7 via call or text at (901) 244-0057. More value added FREE information can be found in our online article library.


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