When it comes to applying for Social Security Disability benefits, the proof you submit in support of your disability claim is crucial to the success of that claim. Your treating physician’s opinions and the contents of your medical records can have a huge effect on whether your claim will be accepted. This blog will provide some recommendations from our Rogers Social Security disability attorney about the properly supporting your disability claim with medical proof.
It is crucial that you comply with your physician’s instructions
One of the most important things to remember is that the agency will assess the validity of your claim by determining whether you have complied with your physician’s recommendations regarding your treatment. If you do not take your physician’s advice, take the prescribed medication or keep your appointments, then Social Security may not believe that you are actually suffering from the condition you claim or that the condition is not as limiting as you represent in your claim.
The need for a Residual Functional Capacity Assessment
Except for very limited situations where approval of a disability claim is automatic, you will be required to submit a Residual Functional Capacity assessment. This assessment must be prepared by your treating physician. The only exception is in cases where your disability is included in the Social Security impairment listing. The purpose of the assessment is to establish what the claimant is still capable of doing despite the claimed disability.
The Residual Functional Capacity assessment is a detailed report from your treating physician describing any limitations you have as a result of your medical condition. The assessment also specifies how your limitations affect your ability to do certain work-related activities. The problem is, there are some physicians who are unwilling to complete the assessment form, which presents a challenge in proving your disability claim.
Why your physician may be unwilling to support your claim
There are several possible reasons why your physician may be reluctant to help with your disability claim. For example, not all physicians understand what is expected. Others simply may not agree with the disability program in general or may not believe you are actually disabled. Some physicians may not have the time or may want to take the time to provide the assessment. If you are concerned about your physician’s willingness to help with your claim, speak to our Rogers Social Security disability attorney.
Your physician may be unfamiliar with the disability process
It may be surprising, but not all physicians are familiar with the social security disability process and do not know what type of information is necessary to support a claim. Regardless, one of the most important things your physician can do is keep detailed records of your condition and its symptoms for a consistent period of time. Since you are claiming that your condition and its symptoms are making it difficult for you to perform your daily or work activities, having medical records that support those claims is crucial. It is equally important to be able to show that you sought treatment for your condition and your medical records will demonstrate that, as well.
Helping your physician understand what is needed
If your physician does not know what to expect or what is expected of them, you can help by assuring her that all that is required is completing the form. The opinion she gives to the agency will not affect her practice or threaten her license. Once the form is submitted, that is typically all that is required of your physician. If your physician believes that completing the form will be far too time-consuming, showing him the Residual Functional Capacity assessment form might help. The required information can usually be obtained during a regular appointment since the physician is already familiar with your condition.
Dealing with a physician’s misgivings about the disability process
Another issue may be that your physician has inaccurate expectations about the assessment process. He or she may assume that the assessment form will be very long or complicated and they are unwilling to spend the time completing it. Some physicians are concerned about being asked to testify on a patient’s behalf. Some are concerned that their reputation in the community could be negatively affected if a disability claim they supported is not approved by the Social Security Administration.
If you have questions regarding Residual Functional Capacity assessments 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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