How to Please the Social Security Gods

Artwork: Robin Mead

Here are five doctor rules you might not know. If you can follow these rules, the Social Security Gods will be happy.

Please follow these rules before you apply, while you apply, and after your are approved, and for the rest of your life or as long as you are on disability.

Five Social Security Rules For Doctor Visits

The Social Security Gods will be happy if:

💮 Your doctor is an acceptable medical source.

💮 You are seeing a doctor regularly (whatever amount your doctor recommends)

💮 You are following your doctor’s treatment suggestions. Your records don’t say “non-compliant.” According to the Social Security policies, it does not matter what the treatment is, as long as your doctor recommends it and writes it in your records.

💮 You are talking to your doctor at every visit about how severe your symptoms are and how this affects your functioning, and your doctor has written about this in your notes.

💮 It is better not to cancel appointments, if possible.

If you can’t see a doctor regularly, or can’t follow treatment, in some situations this is acceptable. See more below.

New Applications

Ideally, Social Security will took see if your medical records will indicate that your condition is severe. They will also look to see if your records contain any kind of lab tests or medical evidence, and if they regularly contain notes about your ability to function (sit, stand, walk, lift, concentrate, focus, remember, etc)


Social Security will look to see if you your medical records indicate that you are being treated for the condition(s) you were approved for, and that these conditions have not improved. For example: If you got approved for Bipolar, and then later you got cancer, the simplest way to pass medical reviews is if you are still in treatment for Bipolar. They will not look at the cancer unless there is a problem.

Having Problems?

If you have a good reason for not following treatment, please let your doctor know the reason. If possible, check that this reason is written in your records. Good reasons may include no money, no health insurance, or too many side effects.

Can’t get to a doctor?

If you haven’t been going to a doctor, the best thing you can do is start going immediately. You may still be able to turn thing around. If you can’t get to the doctor because of finances, insurance, transportation, or being homebound, check out “I Cannot Get to the Doctor”

Really can’t get to the doctor?

If all else fails: How To Explain Why You Haven’t Been to the Doctor or Haven’t Followed Treatment

Meds not working out?

If you need to stop meds because of side effects, try to talk to your doctor about this if possible. You are allowed to stop medications. It is only a problem if your doctor writes down that you “refused treatment” or were “non-compliant” or decided to stop taking medication that the doctor thinks you should continue taking.

If you do not like your doctor’s treatment, you have the right to switch to a doctor who recommends a different treatment. Very important: new doctor must be an acceptable medical source. Some people switch from a psychiatrist to a psychologist if they want less psych meds.

Stopped meds or treatments because they made you feel worse?

It can be very helpful if you can get a letter from your doctor or statement written into your records by your current doctor that includes:

– List of all meds and procedures tried
– Notation for each one if it was or wasn’t effective
– Notation of any side effects and how severe for each one
– current recommendations for treatment (can be natural)
– statement that you are following current treatment plan
– you are current patient of this doctor

Want to make the Social Security Gods love you even more?

New applications: How to Work with Your Doctor to Get Great Disability Documentation

Reviews: Everything You Need to Know About Social Security Disability Reviews

Learn More

Social Security Policy on Failure to Follow Treatment and Good Cause

Updated April 2018. Please share questions, stories, ideas below. 🐳🐬💙

8 thoughts on “How to Please the Social Security Gods”

  1. It’s going on near a year now between mailer & long form. My first of both. I’d be homeless without disability check & likely dead in a couple weeks without my meds. I take 15 different types of meds. Anyhow, my original diagnosis seems to have been a mistake. My doctor says my condition is very complex but you know, SS wants a given illness. Not likely I had or have that illness I was approved of 7 years ago but I was disabled with illnesses & am worse now than ever. I have had several other illnesses hit me all these years so I’m about as disabled as it gets mostly in bed all the time. Either way, I still don’t know anything & am waiting but nearly a year. I’ve called a few times. Same old thing, still in process blah blah blah. It’s a terrifying situation & SS demanded 7 years of medical records from my dr last November instead of just a year. Everything in my case is totally different than anything I’ve read online.


    1. Most reviews are approved without problem, if your condition has not improved and you have medical records documenting condition, there usually are not any problems. I hope it goes well for you.


  2. I struggle so much with expression so when I find an article or page, I share it! I’ve shared this page with a few I knew could use it.

    Even if you’re not on disability, this page guides you on how to SURVIVE with a chronic illness. This info not only helps the person who is struggling to function, but the caretakers (who most people forget) I’ve learned so much and try to help guide others who are lost in this new world.

    The info is HUGE so I have about 20 saved tabs, too!


  3. I have been denied twice and still waiting. I have depression and anxiety, ptsd. Also have physical issues with my back as well. Stenosis a lot of arthritis 4 bulging disks. Memory loss no concentration. This waiting has caused more anxiety and depression. They already have all my information. Why does it take so long after the denied me twice? What do they expect people to do?


  4. Im homeless and have to keep traveling because society wont let disableds live indoors. I have to go campground to campground for 2 years. Ssa is doing every review type they can on me and i cant go to any mental health clinics because they only take people willing to live in shelters so they can be treated like dog shit. On top of that they diagnose stuff way far off of reality if your homeless because of bigotry. I dont have any records and cant get any made. I WILL starve to death and die once they cut me off because no one helps me with anyone and no one will hire me.


    1. I’m sorry to hear your situation. If you can go to google and type in “supportive housing” and the name of your state or any state you want to live in. There may be waiting lists, but I hope you can find something.

      I’ve met other people in your situation who had great experiences in supportive housing. They may also have caseworkers there that can connect you to mental health services.


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