The Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Programs require strong medical evidence before approving claimants for disability benefits. This medical evidence is often pulled from medical treatment records gathered from your various treating physicians.
If you’re working with a good disability lawyer, they will help you gather and organize your medical evidence. They will also ask you which doctors you see most often and who will be most supportive of your claim.
Below, we’ll walk you through the steps you can take to involve your doctor in your disability claim. The first thing you can do is to meet with your doctor personally.
Step 1: Scheduling an Appointment with Your Doctor
Before you even file a claim for Social Security Disability Benefits, you should contact your doctor’s office and schedule an appointment with them. It is probably not necessary to schedule an appointment with all the doctors you have seen in the past. Instead, you should contact only those doctors who know and treat your conditions regularly.
EX) If you suffer from severe fibromyalgia and regularly see a rheumatologist for treatment, you will want to schedule an appointment with them.
Step 2: Tell Them You are Filing for Disability
When you meet with your doctor, discuss your plans for filing for disability. When you file, the Social Security Administration (SSA) will request a written statement from your doctor. Doctors are very busy and a lot of paperwork comes in and out of their office. It’s always good to let your doctor know to expect the paperwork. Then, they can prepare in advance for the request.
Next, you’ll want to explain to your doctor how your disability impacts your daily life. Remember that while your doctor has a good understanding of your medical condition, they don’t live with you. They need to understand the full extent of your disability and what daily life is like. The better they understand what your daily life is like, the better they can relay that information to the SSA.
Before you wrap up discussions, review Social Security’s definition of disability. Then, ask your doctor whether or not she agrees that you qualify for disability benefits.
If they answer is ‘yes,’ your claim is stronger than it will be without their support.
Step 3: Doctor Provides Written Statement to SSA
Next, the SSA will ask your doctor to provide them with a written statement. A good statement should include information about your diagnosis, how your condition impacts you physically, your prognosis and how your condition limits you from working.
A strong statement is one that is supported by medical evidence and that is not simply an expression of your doctor’s opinion. In most cases, your doctor can reference various diagnostics and tests they administered to you while treating your condition.
Step 4: Consider Working With A Good Disability Lawyer
It is not unusual for claimants filing for disability to have many treating physicians and hundreds of pages of medical records. One of the reasons we recommend working with a good disability lawyer is because you will gain access to a team of individuals experienced in compiling medical evidence.
In addition, lawyers are also uniquely trained to build arguments based on evidence. If your claim is denied at the initial level (and most are!) you will want a lawyer to help you at the hearing level when you are in front of an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ).
If you or someone you know is considering filing for disability, give us a call. We serve claimants throughout the state of North Carolina and have offices located in Winston-Salem, Lexington and Mount Airy.