Do I have to keep going to the doctor after I am approved for disability in order to continue getting Social Security Disability payments?
See why you have to keep seeing a doctor after you are approved for Social Security Disability payments, even if you don’t have insurance.
Appropriate Medical Care for Continuing Disability Reviews
After you have been received Social Security Disability payments for a while, you may be asked to present proof of ongoing disability. The best way to do this is to see your doctor at appropriate intervals. That said, just exactly what “appropriate” means is not simple to define. It depends on the nature of your disabling condition and the treatment plan your doctor has laid out for you. It is important to return to the doctor at the time he or she recommends and to refill prescribed medications on time. If your condition has reached maximum improvement and is truly permanent, and your doctor has left your care open-ended, saying “Come see me if you have problems,” then it is probably sufficient to have a once-a-year check-up. At the annual check-up ask your doctor to be sure that an update on your disabling condition is noted in your chart, even if it just says that nothing has changed.
Getting Medical Care Without Insurance
Lack of health insurance or cash to cover the cost of care is one of the most frequent reasons that disabled people don’t see a doctor often enough to establish proof of continuing disability. If you are having trouble paying for recommended care, you might try to negotiate lower fees or look for alternatives such as free or low-cost clinics or public medical insurance such as Medicaid or the Affordable Care Act (ACA). (Information about getting insurance under the ACA is available online at www.healthcare.gov.)
If you can’t return for recommended treatment due to lack of funds, try to get your doctor to write in your chart the financial reason why you are not following his or her recommendations with regards to frequency of care and following the treatment plan. Even if you do not need frequent care, it is important to try to save up for at least one appointment a year.
For more information on proving continuing disability to keep your Social Security payments, please see our article Will My Social Security Disability Claim Be Reviewed Again after I Am Approved for Benefits? and How Can I Prepare for a Continuing Disability Review of My Social Security Disability Claim?