After submitting your Social Security disability application, you will be required to also submit documentation establishing the nature of your disability from your physician. The only exception is for certain conditions that are included in the impairment list and are automatically approved. In most cases, though, you will need to provide a Residual Functional Capacity assessment from your physician. Let our Joplin disability attorney explain.
Applying for disability
When your disability application is submitted, your file is turned over to a designated state office that actually reviews your medical records and any other documentation you submit along with it. In Arkansas, this office is called the Arkansas’s Disability Determination for Social Security Administration. In Missouri, it is known as Missouri Disability Determination Services.
These state agencies determine medical eligibility for Social Security disability for their residents. However, the process has been standardized throughout the country. The Social Security Administration will make an initial determination based solely on the information you provide in your application. You need a Joplin disability attorney to help you from the start or you may not be successful.
What is a Residual Functional Capacity assessment?
In order to determine what you are capable of doing after suffering a disability, a Residual Functional Capacity assessment should be submitted. A Residual Functional Capacity assessment is a detailed report from your physicians that describes the limitations you have as a result of your condition. It also addresses how those limitations affect your ability to do specific work-related activities. Unfortunately, some physicians are unwilling to complete the Residual Functional Capacity assessment form, which makes it difficult for your disability claim to be approved.
Why some doctors may be unwilling to support your claim
There can be many different reasons why physicians are reluctant to help disability claimants. Some reasons include not understanding what is expected, not agreeing with the disability program, or not believing that you are truly disabled. Some physicians simply don’t have the time or money to provide the assessment. Trying to get your physician’s support depends on the reason they don’t want to help in the first place. If you have questions about what to do, talk to our Joplin disability attorney.
Some physicians are unclear about what is expected
It is not uncommon for some physicians to simply lack understanding as to what is expected. They might assume that the forms that must be completed are lengthy and complicated. So, if they don’t want to spend the time filling out the form, they may be hesitant to help. Another concern that some physicians have is that they will ultimately be called to testify on your behalf or otherwise be involved in a lengthy process. Finally, there are those few physicians who are afraid that their reputations may be adversely affected if Social Security does not agree with the medical opinion they give.
Helping your physician to understand what is expected
If you find that your physician doesn’t fully understand what is expected, you can provide assurance that, once the form is completed and given to the Social Security agency, his or her involvement ends. You can also assure your physician that his or her opinion regarding your disability will not impact his or her license or practice. If your physician is hesitant because he believes the process will be too time-consuming, simply showing your physician the Residual Functional Capacity assessment form may help. The necessary information can normally be provided during a normal appointment, as long as the physician is familiar with your condition.
Medical opinions about your disability
Unfortunately, if your physician does not believe that you are disabled by your condition, it will likely be very difficult to convince her to complete the assessment for you. If the problem is that your physician believes you can still work regardless of your condition, you may be able to provide the physician with supportive statements from your employer or co-workers that describe your work-related limitations. If that does not work, you may have to see another physician. However, be careful not to appear to be “doctor-shopping” as that can be detrimental to your claim.
If you have questions regarding Residual Functional Capacity or any other Social Security Disability matters in Arkansas or Missouri, please contact the Cottrell Law Office for a free consultation. You can contact us either online or by calling us toll-free at (888) 433-4861.
He is licensed to practice law in the United States District Court for the District of Kansas, eastern Arkansas, western Arkansas, and western Missouri. He was Deputy Prosecuting Attorney in Crawford County, Kansas from 1987-1989.
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