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Disability Claims: How Your Doctor Plays a Key Role

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Most people understand the necessity of a doctor’s intervention to secure your return to health. What you might not realize however is the key role that your doctor plays in the process to obtain Social Security Disability benefits. 

Here we are discussing the influence of your doctor during SSA’s decision to approve or deny an individual’s disability application. Working closely with your doctors, adhering to their instructions, and being diligent about all of your follow up care will benefit you in your request for disability benefits. 

The Importance Of Doctor’s Reports In The Disability Claims

Before applying, it is always recommended to consult with the doctor who has been treating you and who best knows the severity of your disability. Your doctors and their submitted reports, will have a significant impact on the ultimate decision in your case.  Not only will medical reports serve as evidence of your disability, but they will also serve as evidence of your inability to return to work in a significant capacity. 

It is important to note that any medical information contained in your application should come from an acceptable medical source as defined by SSA. This includes: licensed physicians, licensed psychologists, licensed optometrists, licensed podiatrists, licensed osteopathic doctors, and speech language pathologists. Generally, submissions from nurses, health aides, and chiropractors are not considered. 

Likewise, the SSA gives consideration to the relationship between doctor and patient. For example, the SSA will give greater weight to evidence submitted by a doctor who has been treating a condition for years, as opposed to one who has only performed an initial review. Further, the SSA will consider the credentials and relevant experience of the medical professional in question. 

Doctor in Disability Claims As your doctor’s information is significant while applying for long-term or short-term disability benefits. In some cases, the report provided by the doctor can break your claim. When medical reports of a claimant’s disability are not enough to prove the extent of the disability, SSA can deny the appeal. So, before applying, make sure you consult with your treating doctors. 

It would help keep your doctor updated about how your disability impacts your daily activities, the severity of your symptoms, and how the treatment is making a difference. Be open and honest with your doctor. This will help your doctor to draft an accurate and convincing statement to the SSA that will tell your entire story. A thoughtful report from a doctor backed by sound medical results can help you avoid an SSDI denial and increase the probability of getting benefits you deserve.

What Statement Your Doctor Provides to SSA? 

The statement of your treating doctors should be a detailed and convincing explanation of your condition and its impact on your everyday life and ability to work. This will inevitably include a discussion of the nature and severity of your disability, the impact of the disability, and expected duration of the condition.

Essential to success is the ability of your physician’s  statements to inform the SSA about how your condition prevents you from performing day-to-day activities and how your condition responds to the prescribed treatments. 

The Social Security Administration determines the extent of your disability with the help of these statements and the medical documentation that backs them up.

If the SSA finds that your doctor’s statement is insufficient to fully demonstrate your disability, you may get a notice to undergo a consultative exam. This is intended to give the SSA an accurate representation of your current medical status and your current ability to perform everyday tasks.

A good thing about the consultative exam is that the SSA seems to understand that a consultative exam is limited in scope and that a doctor cannot necessarily draw an accurate picture of a disability within that time. Hence, statements from your treating physicians will usually be given more priority than the results of a consultative exam. So make sure that you can draw a clear picture of your disabilities and their symptoms whenever you visit your doctor. 

What is an RFC?

An RFC, Residual Functional Capacity, assessment is a detailed explanation of how your medical conditions limit your everyday activities, especially as they relate to your ability to work. This assessment is usually performed by claims examiners at the Social Security Administration and consultants at DDS without the active participation of your physicians. 

Regardless, it is your doctor’s reports and statements that will be used to make the conclusions and determinations in the assessment. Alternatively, it may be possible to have your physician complete the RFC or assist you in doing so. Some physicians are unwilling to complete these forms. 

You may book a free initial legal consultation and discuss your situation with experienced lawyers. These professionals will assist you in getting you the benefits you deserve.