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

Every year, thousands of people develop health issues that force them to stop working. Unfortunately, finding a doctor to correctly diagnose these issues and try different treatments isn’t always easy. That’s why having your doctor’s support when you apply for Social Security disability (SSD) is critical. In fact, your doctor’s treatment notes and other paperwork could make all the difference in winning monthly benefits.

Your doctor’s support is important because he or she can speak to the various reasons why your health prevents you from working. The SSA only sees you for a brief moment and cannot fully judge the depth of your health problems. This is where your doctor’s support comes into play. That’s because Disability Determination Services (DDS) claims examiners rely on those notes to understand how severe your condition really is. Once you know your disability will last at least one year and prevent you from working that whole time, apply for Social Security disability (SSD) benefits. Doing so may help you out financially and relieve some of the burden that comes from living with your disability.

Before you decide to rely on your doctor, though, be sure to ask a few questions. First, ask if your doctor feels comfortable helping you complete your SSD application. Many patients are shocked to discover their doctors aren’t as supportive as they had hoped. That said, having a doctor’s support can make all the difference in winning monthly disability benefits.

Why Does Your Doctor’s Support Matter for SSD Benefit Approval?

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

Your doctor fully understands your condition and can speak to whether it limits your ability to work full-time. A physician who doesn’t believe you are disabled, though, will do more harm than good. In fact, that doctor’s opinion could push the SSA towards denying you benefits.

First, make sure your doctor fully understand the SSA’s definition of “disability.” Once you confirm that, include only physicians with a good understanding of your relevant medical history. In other words, doctors treating you on a regular basis and tracking your progress. A doctor you see only rarely doesn’t know your medical history and timeline well enough to speak on your behalf with authority.

While filling out your SSD benefits application, ask your doctor to complete a residual functional capacity (RFC) form. You’ll want that form in addition to a doctor’s support letter that describes your current limitations. Some physicians may charge a fee for filling out an RFC form. However, if your doctor doesn’t respond to your RFC form request or refuses to complete the form (even with payment), you may need to change providers.

Not sure your doctor supports your Social Security disability claim or don’t know where to start? Speak to a Social Security attorney for free about your case over the phone. You’re 3x more likely to get disability benefits on your first try if a lawyer files your claim paperwork. In addition, disability lawyers always work on contingency. That means you’ll pay $0 for legal assistance if the SSA doesn’t approve your application. And if you do win benefits, then you’ll only pay a small, one-time fee.

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Lori Polemenakos is Director of Consumer Content and SEO strategist for LeadingResponse, a legal marketing company. An award-winning journalist, writer and editor based in Dallas, Texas, she's produced articles for major brands such as Match.com, Yahoo!, MSN, AOL, Xfinity, Mail.com, and edited several published books. Since 2016, she's published hundreds of articles about Social Security disability, workers' compensation, veterans' benefits, personal injury, mass tort, auto accident claims, bankruptcy, employment law and other related legal issues.