FAA Medical Denial for ADHD

  • ON Nov 15, 2020
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  • BY Anthony Ison
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  • IN Pilot Law

Have you received a FAA medical denial for ADHD? Let’s analyze how you got to a denial and what can be done to appeal the denial.

At least three questions on the FAA medical application (Form 8500-8) can identify to the FAA that an individual potentially has a history of ADHD. Specifically, those questions are question 17 (the question about “current use” of medications), question 18m (the question about “mental disorders of any sort”), and question 19 (the question about visits to healthcare professionals in the past 3 years).

Question 17 can identify for the FAA that an individual is currently taking a disqualifying medication such as Adderall, Ritalin, Concerta, Strattera, etc, commonly used to treat ADHD. Perhaps most problematic is that these medications are disqualifying in and of themselves. Even if you can disprove a legitimate history or diagnosis of ADHD (discussed further below), use of a disqualifying medication within 90 days of application will usually lead to a denial. If you are currently taking any of these medications or other type of stimulant, expect your Aviation Medical Examiner (“AME”) to defer your application and ultimately for the FAA to deny your application until the medication is discontinued (and potentially for at least 90 days thereafter).

Question 18m. speaks to “mental disorders of any sort.” It goes on to give examples of “depression, anxiety, etc.” The FAA typically expects applicants to also identify at question 18m. whether, in their life, have they been diagnosed with, had, or presently have a history of ADHD. What does this mean? If you were diagnosed with ADHD when you were in school but haven’t taken medication or experienced symptoms in 15 years, you still are required to answer “yes” to question 18m. Ultimately, a “yes” response to 18m. will most definitely warrant deferral by the AME and evaluation of your eligibility for a medical certificate by the FAA.

Question 19 speaks to “visits to healthcare professionals within the last 3 years.” If on this question, an applicant identifies that he or she has been to see his or her doctor for treatment of ADHD, this will likely warrant deferral. Be careful that if you have seen your doctor and are responding “yes” to question 19 and your doctor diagnosed you with ADHD (or suggested that you had ADHD), you will also likely need to respond “yes” to question 18m.

Assuming you appropriately responded to one of these three questions, your application was likely deferred and the FAA sent you a letter, requesting medical records. If after that the FAA denied your application, you can seek reconsideration of that denial by making a few substantive arguments. First, if you’ve not taken a disqualifying medication for greater than 90 days, you can potentially argue to the FAA that your underlying diagnosis was not accurate to begin with. In this case, you can cast doubt on the original diagnosis and attempt to avoid further evaluation.

Alternatively, upon 90-days of discontinuation of medication, you can potentially undergo the requested neuropsychological testing prescribed by the FAA. If successful with testing, you can then make further arguments that you do not have an aeromedically significant medical condition. Here’s more information on the FAA’s battery of neuropsychological testing: https://www.faa.gov/about/office_org/headquarters_offices/avs/offices/aam/ame/guide/dec_cons/disease_prot/adhd/ 

There are also considerations for appeal to the National Transportation Safety Board, but this option will be also be dependent on discontinuation of the disqualifying medication and your ability to develop an argument that the underlying diagnosis was not accurate.

Ultimately, a FAA medical denial for ADHD is almost never the end of the road for an airman. The FAA’s denial letter may look daunting, but time and time again, airmen with a history of ADHD are being issued medical certification following the appropriate presentation of the airmen’s fitness for flight.

If you have a FAA medical denial for ADHD, call your aviation attorney at The Ison Law Firm for a consultation. An attorney that focuses on FAA medical denials may be able to guide you through the process and work with the FAA to achieve certification. Learn more here:  thepilotlawyer.com/faa-medical/

This article does not in any way counsel the reader as to how to appropriately respond to questions on the FAA medical application, nor does it give medical advice regarding the accuracy of the reader’s medical history. The reader should always consult his or her doctor before discontinuation of any medication.

How to Prevent a FAA Medical Denial?

  • ON Nov 14, 2020
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  • BY Anthony Ison
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  • IN Pilot Law

How to prevent a FAA medical denial is a question frequently asked of The Ison Law Firm by airmen. What is the most critical step to preventing a FAA medical denial? Preparation. Time and time again, airmen will complete their Form 8500-8, get examined by their Aviation Medical Examiner (“AME”), pay their fee to the AME, and then learn that their medical history requires “deferral” to and evaluation by the FAA’s Office of Aerospace Medicine in Oklahoma City. Then ensues the FAA’s evaluation of the airman’s eligibility for medical certification, including requests for records and, at times, a requirement to undergo testing, evaluation, monitoring, or even a requirement for the airman to provide a written statement. After months and months of waiting for a decision from the FAA, the airman is unfortunately denied medical certification. Was there a way to prevent the denial?

Airmen have a better (albeit not guaranteed) chance of avoiding FAA medical denial, if they are carefully prepared before their shadow darkens the AME’s door. Doing so puts the airman in the driver’s seat, or rather (hopefully), the left seat of an airplane. How so? Well, evaluation of the medical history and understanding what the FAA’s concerns are likely to be, can allow the airman to prepare necessary documentation ahead of time (rather than working on the FAA’s timetable and supposed needs) – including preparing appropriate statements from your doctors and, to an appropriate extent, developing an argument as to your eligibility for the FAA early in the process.

By doing so, the airman can then provide a compelling argument to the FAA for eligibility at the same time as the Form 8500-8/application is submitted. Instead of the FAA telling the airman what medical records they want to review, the airman can potentially make the argument for medical eligibility before the FAA feels the need to ask for anything. This way will cutdown on unnecessary “back and forth” with the FAA and potentially reduce the time it takes to get through the process (sometimes it takes the FAA up to two months before an airman even receives a letter after a deferred application). Learn more about the FAA’s deferral process, here: https://www.faa.gov/about/office_org/headquarters_offices/avs/offices/aam/ame/guide/app_process/app_review/item62/

Ultimately, if an airman is prepared with a compelling argument as to eligibility at the time of application, the airman stands a much better chance of preventing a FAA medical denial. The airman’s ability to control the argument, rather than trying to keep up with the FAA’s requests can make the difference between being certified or not.

If you are wondering how to prevent a FAA medical denial, call an aviation attorney at The Ison Law Firm before you schedule an appointment with your AME. Through carefully preparing your case with an attorney, you may very well have a good shot at preventing a FAA medical denial. Look for more information from The Ison Law Firm, here: https://thepilotlawyer.com/faa-medical/ 

Unreported Conditions on Your FAA Medical Application

  • ON Jul 03, 2020
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  • BY Anthony Ison
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  • IN Pilot Law

Yes, unreported conditions on your FAA medical application could lead to serious consequences. Maybe it was an accident. You didn’t really read the questions. You misunderstood the question. You were afraid to report something that could lead to denial of your medical application. If the FAA discovers an unreported condition, including DUI arrests and VA disability benefits, the bad news is that you could face revocation of your airman certificate and your medical certificate. If discovered early, however, before the FAA discovers your non-compliance, you may be able to fix your error and avoid much of the harsh sanctions imposed by the FAA for alleged “falsification.”

Specifically, Order 2150.3C regarding the FAA’s Compliance and Enforcement Program speaks to the significance of “corrective action.” Specifically, the Order states at page 4-27 that:

“Evidence of an apparent violator’s corrective action presented during an investigation is included in the EIR. Corrective action is a mitigating factor when it exceeds regulatory or statutory requirements, corrects the underlying violation, and is designed to prevent future violations. The significance of corrective action as a mitigating factor is determined by the timeliness of the action (e.g., before FAA discovery of a violation, after discovery but before legal enforcement action is initiated, or after legal enforcement action is taken) and how extensive it is.”

The significance of this language is that, in practice, typically, if the FAA Office of Aerospace Medicine learns of a previously unreported condition from you, before they discover it, revocation of your airman certificate may be avoided. Still, the FAA will want to establish that you are eligible to hold an airman medical certificate, in light of the newly reported condition. Nevertheless, the career-ending effects of revocation can likely be avoided.

As with all things, there are caveats to corrective action. First, if the FAA has initiated an investigation regarding your underreporting or if the information is presented via response to a different inquiry, an “amendment” to your previous medical applications may not be accepted. The timing of such an “amendment” or corrective action is critical to the FAA’s handling of your case, so it is important that you consult with a FAA medical certification attorney prior to attempting to making any reports to the FAA.

If you have any unreported conditions on your airman medical application, you should contact a FAA medical certification attorney to discuss corrective action. These issues can be further discussed with the aviation attorney at The Ison Law Firm. If you are facing unreported conditions on your FAA medical application, help is only a phone call away: 1-855-FAA-1215.

Check out more, here:  https://thepilotlawyer.com/faa-medical/

The information contained in this web-site is intended for the education and benefit of those visiting this site. The information should not be relied upon as advice to help you with your specific issue. Each case is unique and must be analyzed by an attorney licensed to practice in your area with respect to the particular facts and applicable current law before any advice can be given.

Three Steps to Avoid a FAA Medical Denial

  • ON Jan 18, 2020
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  • BY Anthony Ison
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  • IN Pilot Law

There are three steps to avoid a FAA medical denial, whether you’ve been flying for years or this is your first FAA medical application. As you probably already know, a pilot’s license is only as good as the medical certificate that you hold. If you’re an ATP, student pilot, or just interested in getting into aviation, the common denominator is the need for a valid FAA medical certificate. Beyond that, the FAA’s new “BasicMed” certificate requires that your most recent medical application not have been denied. So, the impact of a FAA medical denial is becoming more consequential in the airman certification process, overall.

TIP #1: REVIEW BEFORE YOU SUBMIT

Before you submit an application to the FAA for medical certification, you hold all the power. Once you submit your application or medical records to the FAA, the FAA takes charge. Anything and everything that is submitted will be scrutinized by the FAA medical officers and considered in a light most favorable to aviation safety. This does not mean you should fabricate, falsify, or redact any information or documents. Instead, you should review all records and documentation prior to submission to the FAA in order to avoid a FAA medical denial. Doing so, gives you an opportunity to consider obtaining potential second opinions, more complete medical records, and developing additional evidence to support your eligibility in light of your condition. Addressing problematic conditions or records prior to submission to the FAA can work to alleviate the FAA’s concerns and help avoid a FAA medical denial.

TIP #2: UNDERSTAND THE FEDERAL AVIATION REGULATIONS

Not all medical conditions are treated the same by the FAA. Some medical conditions require simple document review by the FAA, which can ultimately result in issuance of a FAA medical certificate. However, Part 67, the body of regulations which identify criteria for medical certification, identifies certain disqualifying medical conditions. If you have an established medical history or clinical diagnosis of one of these “specifically disqualifying” conditions, as outlined in Part 67, you will always end up with a FAA medical denial. Nevertheless, even if you received a FAA medical denial due to one of these disqualifying conditions, you may be eligible for a special issuance authorization (essentially a waiver). The various conditions requiring special issuance authorization require medical evidence specific to that condition to establish eligibility for issuance. Knowing what conditions require special issuance authorization can prevent a FAA medical denial and ultimately preserve your opportunity to fly under Sport Pilot rules.

TIP #3: APPRECIATE THAT YOUR AME MIGHT NOT KNOW IT ALL

Do not expect your aviation medical examiner or “AME” to necessarily understand how the FAA will treat your medical condition. Clinically, you may appear eligible for medical certification, which might support your AME trying to issue your medical certificate. However, certain conditions require the FAA to review your medical records, whether your AME believes you are eligible, or not. Ultimately, even if your AME issues you a medical certificate, the FAA can still deny your FAA medical application.

As you can see, there are ways to avoid a FAA medical denial. These tips can be broken down into more nuanced procedures and have been refined by the aviation attorney at The Ison Law Firm. If you are facing a FAA denial, help is only a phone call away: 1-855-FAA-1215.

Check out more, here:  https://thepilotlawyer.com/faa-medical/

The information contained in this web-site is intended for the education and benefit of those visiting this site. The information should not be relied upon as advice to help you with your specific issue. Each case is unique and must be analyzed by an attorney licensed to practice in your area with respect to the particular facts and applicable current law before any advice can be given.

 

What Should Your FAA DUI Attorney Tell You About DUI Convictions

  • ON Feb 07, 2019
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  • BY Anthony Ison
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  • IN Pilot Law

What should your FAA DUI attorney tell you about DUI convictions? The first thing your FAA DUI attorney should tell you is that whether you are convicted of a DUI may not matter when it comes to obtaining your FAA medical certificate. More specifically, if you are arrested for DUI, but later convicted of a lesser offense, the FAA is still going to consider the incident aeromedically significant. For instance, your FAA DUI attorney should tell you that a plea to “reckless driving” following a DUI arrest will still likely result in a deferred medical application (depending on some variables) and an inquiry by the FAA as to your eligibility to hold an airman medical certificate.

Your FAA DUI attorney should tell you that the FAA’s medical certification application asks at question 18v. whether you have been arrested and/or convicted for an incident involving driving while intoxicated, while impaired by, or while under the influence of alcohol or a drug. This means that even if you are arrested for DUI, but later convicted of a “lesser offense,” you still have to indicate “yes” on question 18v. and provide the details of the offense in the explanation box. In essence, adjudication is not as important to the FAA as the event itself and what was documented from a medical perspective by the arresting officer(s) and those who may have conducted alcohol and drug screenings. In that, the FAA’s emphasis is on whether the incident was an example of use of a substance in a situation that was physically hazardous. Beyond that, the FAA utilizes any alcohol or drug testing results to ascertain whether you have a medically disqualifying “substance abuse” or “substance dependence,” as those conditions are described in 14 CFR Part 67.

If you have been arrested for a DUI, you should consult with a FAA DUI attorney immediately. Getting your charge of DUI reduced to “reckless driving” or some other “lesser offense,” does not necessarily reduce your liability with the FAA. Call a FAA DUI attorney at The Ison Law Firm today to discuss your reporting requirements and reestablishing your eligibility for airman medical certification. Your FAA DUI attorney at The Ison Law Firm is standing by to vector you through legal turbulence.