Why You Need a Doctor’s Support for Social Security Disability Claims

doctor's support for social security disability claims

Every year, thousands of people become disabled with lesser-known disabling conditions or conditions that are hard to pinpoint such as fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome. Unfortunately, finding a doctor to deliver the correct diagnosis and not give up until he or she finds the cause of your symptoms can be a struggle. The struggle is worth the effort, as a doctor’s support for social security disability claims is a critical element to getting your Social Security disability (SSD) application approved.

Your doctor’s support is important because he or she can speak to the various reasons that your condition prevents you from being able to work full time. The SSA only sees you for a brief moment, so they cannot fully judge the depth of your illness. This is where the physician’s support comes into play, as the Disability Determination Services (DDS) will rely on those notes to inform them of how severe your condition really is. When you know you’re going to be disabled for one year or more and that your condition will prohibit you from sustaining full time work, you might consider applying for Social Security disability benefits to help you out financially and take some of the burden off of living with your disability.

Before you decide to rely on your doctor, you should first ask them directly about their support level for a Social Security disability benefits application. Many patients are shocked to discover that their doctors are not as supportive as they had imagined. Be sure to ask them about their support level before beginning the long and difficult task of filing an SSD application.

Why it’s Important to Have a Supportive Doctor

A physician’s opinion in an Social Security disability case is of critical importance because this person is a licensed medical profession who has run tests, taken X-rays, provided diagnoses, and tried different treatment options.

Doctors have a thoroughly developed knowledge of your condition and can speak to whether or not they believe you are disabled. A physician who does not believe you have a disability, though, will do more harm than good to your case—and could even be the reason your application gets denied rather than approved.

First, you want to make sure that your doctor fully understand the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) definition of disability. Once you have ensured that they do, you want to include only physicians with whom you have an ongoing relationship, meaning that they are treating you on a regular basis and tracking your progress. A doctor you see only once or twice a year doesn’t know your medical history and timeline well enough to speak on your behalf with serious authority. You need to see a doctor on a regular basis to establish him or her as your treating doctor.

As part of preparation for your Social Security disability application, you may need your doctor to complete a residual functional capacity (RFC) form in addition to or as part of their supportive statement to present to the SSA. Some physicians may charge a fee to complete this. However, if your doctor is unresponsive to your request to complete an RFC, or refuses to complete the form even if you agree to pay a fee, you may need to seek out a different doctor before going ahead with your Social Security disability application. You may have to try out many different doctors before finding the one  you feel offers successful treatment options and will also support your application for Social Security disability.

Consider Asking for Professional Assistance

If you’re not sure that your doctor supports your Social Security disability claim or don’t know the first step to getting your physician’s assistance, you might want to contact an advocate or attorney that specializes in SSD cases. He or she will have the background knowledge and experience to point you in the right direction and offer assistance in getting your doctor on board. In addition they may be able to provide valuable insight into how to apply for Social Security disability benefits.

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