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Your Doctor’s Role During the Social Security Disability Claim Process

Medical professionals can provide great help to your application

If an injury or disease has left you unable to work, either permanently or temporarily, don’t lose out on your Social Security disability (SSD) benefits just because you’ve overlooked important details. The opinion of your treating physician matters significantly when the Social Security Administration is considering your case. Because a disability applicant’s treating physician is usually in the best position to give an informed and unbiased opinion regarding your prognosis, it is important to develop a strong relationship with your doctor and understand who qualifies as a treating physician.

Tips for working with your physician after an injury

According to the Social Security Administration, a treating physician is a professional who offers medical treatment and has a long-term relationship with you. Therefore, if you are applying for SSD benefits, you should never move quickly from one doctor to the next. If you don’t have a qualified “treating physician” supporting your claim, a disability judge may disregard your claim.

Finally, before you make your claim, always be sure that your treating physician qualifies as an acceptable source of medical authority to the Social Security Administration. Licensed physicians, (including primary care practitioners, psychiatrists, neurologists, endocrinologists, oncologists, and other medical specialists) are considered the only acceptable sources; a judge may not accept evidence from other medical types of providers, such as your chiropractor.

Once you have identified a qualifying treating physician, the next step is to request your medical records and a letter of support. Begin by providing the Social Security Administration with all relevant treatment notes, lab reports, x-rays, and imaging (such as magnetic resonance imaging) that document your disability. Next, request a written statement from your doctor to support your disability claim.

When requesting a doctor’s statement, remember that SSD examiners are not interested in short, vague claims from physicians that simply indicate you are unable to work. Ask your doctor to write an evaluation that states exactly the medical reasons why you are unable to work, including an assessment of how well you can sit, stand, bend, walk, balance and perform other tasks. This detailed list will help you greatly in your pursuit of SSD benefits.

Leverage the experience of our Dalton disability income lawyers

To learn more about how you can work with your doctor during your SSD claim, call contact us online. Serving residents throughout Dalton and Whitfield County and all of Northwest Georgia, we make it easy and cost-effective to obtain great legal counsel.