Once you have submitted your application for Social Security disability, you will not to provide documented support from your doctor in most cases. There are a few exceptions to that requirement where approval is automatic, such is when your condition is included on the impairment listing. But in most cases, you will need to submit a Residual Functional Capacity assessment, prepared by your doctor. But, what do you do if you cannot get support from your doctor on your disability claim?
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 doctor 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 doctors are unwilling to complete the Residual Functional Capacity assessment form, which makes it difficult for your disability claim to be approved.
Why some doctors are unwilling to support your claim
There can be many different reasons why doctors 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 doctors simply don’t have the time or money to provide the assessment. Trying to get your doctor’s support depends on the reason they don’t want to help in the first place.
Doctor’s with unclear expectations about the assessment
It is not uncommon for some doctors 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 doctors 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 doctors who are afraid that their reputations may be adversely affected if Social Security does not agree with the medical opinion they give.
Helping your doctor to understand what is expected
If you find that your doctor 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 doctor that his or her opinion regarding your disability will not impact his or her license or practice. If your doctor is hesitant because he believes the process will be too time consuming, simply showing your doctor the Residual Functional Capacity assessment form may help. The necessary information can normally be provided during a normal appointment, as long as the doctor is familiar with your condition.
Medical opinions about your disability
Unfortunately, if your doctor 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 doctor believes you can still work regardless of your condition, you may be able to provide the doctor 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 doctor. However, be careful not to appear to be “doctor-shopping” as that can be detrimental to your claim.
If you have questions regarding doctor reports, or any other social security disability issues, call the Cottrell Law Office 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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