Can Side Effects from Prescribed Medications Be a Disabling Condition?

Parmele Law FirmSocial Security

We often get asked whether certain conditions, like anxiety or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, etc. can qualify as a “disability” for purposes of Social Security Disability Insurance benefits (“SSDI” or “disability benefits”). But what about something a bit more difficult than a specific condition? What about side effects from prescribed medications? Can they qualify as a disability?

Let’s see.

The Basics.

To qualify for SSDI benefits, in addition to meeting the work requirements, your disabling condition must be severe enough to keep you from engaging in any “substantial gainful activity” (or “SGA” – generally this means working full-time or long enough to make $1,800 a month [2018]) and it must last, or be expected to last at least 1 year.

The definition of disability does not say that you must be completely incapable of working. Rather, what it says that your condition must keep you from being able to work long enough to earn a certain income level (SGA) each month, and it must be expected to last at least 1 year.

One way a person can qualify for SSDI is by meeting exactly a “listed condition”.

The other way, however, is by proving to the Social Security Administration (“SSA”) that you have a condition or combination of conditions that “equals” a listed condition in severity.

Medications. Disability and Side Effects. 

While it the idea of qualifying for SSDI based on the side effects from prescribed medications may be unusual, it is not unusual for disability claimants to be taking medicines that have severe side effects.

Very often prescribed medications (think chemotherapy) can result in side effects that interfere with a person’s ability to perform job-related tasks. For example, many medicines may cause drowsiness, inability to drive, inability to concentrate, nausea, fatigue or other effects that may last for an extended period of time.

While alone the side effects from prescribed medications may not get you SSDI benefits, in combination with your underlying condition or conditions, (for example, cancer, heart conditions, etc.) severe side effects from prescribed medication that prevents you from working may assist in getting you approved for benefits.

As always, if you have questions about your particular case, consult experienced disability counsel.

You Have Questions. We Have Answers.

If you have questions about SSDI benefits, or have been denied benefits, call us. We are experienced disability attorneys. We FIGHT to get our clients the benefits they deserve. We have offices throughout Missouri, and Kansas, and in Belleville/Swanson, Illinois. We have offices in several cites in Oklahoma, too. We offer free consultations and we do not get paid unless you win your case. Send us an e-mail or call 855-727-8625