Q-Can a Social Security Judge Issue a Ruling Stating that I have failed to follow prescribed treatment for my disability?
A-Social Security Regulation (SS 82-59) sets out the basis for such a ruling. And yes, a judge could deny you benefits on this basis.
If you have a disability impairment which could be treated and if treated you could be expected to have your ability to work restored, you must follow the generally accepted treatment protocol for that disability UNLESS there is a justifiable cause for the failure to follow such treatment.
The key are the words “fails without justifiable cause” to follow the treatment. If treatment would be expected to restore an individual's ability to work, then the failure to engage in that treatment will allow a judge to deny you benefits.
When it is determined by your medical records that treatment has been prescribed by a treating source and the evidence discloses you have refused to follow that treatment, the burden is on you to prove your inaction is justifiable.
I caution my clients that if they decline to undergo a back or neck surgery and their physician informs the client that the chances of obtaining good surgical results are poor, so long as this information is obtained in a letter from the attending physician, then the burden of overcoming a refusal can be achieved.
There are other justifiable reasons. This one is the one I see most often.