A doctor in a white lab coat holding a clipboard and a pen up to a patient.

Applying for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits can be a complex process. One of the key elements is knowing how to prove your disability to the Social Security Administration (SSA).

Working with your doctor to provide accurate medical records will be crucial to your case. If you’re filing for SSD and not sure what you need from your physician(s), continue reading. We also invite you to contact our knowledgeable law firm to discuss your disability case.

The Burden of Proof for Disability Claims

The burden of proof in a disability claim falls on you, the applicant. This means you must provide solid evidence that your condition prevents you from working. Your doctor’s medical opinion, assessments, and other medical records will be crucial to your case.

What Do You Need From a Doctor to Support Your Social Security Disability Claim?

To strengthen your claim, you need proof that your disability prevents you from performing Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA). You must also provide evidence that your disability meets medical eligibility criteria for that specific impairment.

Below we discuss how your physician plays a vital role in filing a disability application successfully. We also highlight the various types of medical evidence you need to support your claim.

Gather All Your Medical Records

When applying for SSD benefits, it’s essential to collect all medical history information. This includes medical records from every doctor you’ve seen related to your condition.

It also includes records from any previous appointments, such as exams, test results, etc., that may be relative to your disability. The SSA will request copies of medical records from your physicians. However, they don’t always manage to collect everything that could be pertinent to your case.

The SSA wants to see a complete picture of your health. Therefore, the more evidence you provide them, the easier it is to assess the severity of your condition.

Why Do You Need Medical Records From Every Doctor?

Providing the SSA with comprehensive documentation helps them understand the impact and history of your disability and any related conditions. Missing records could cause delays or even lead to a claim denial.

Documented Symptoms

Your doctor should take detailed notes regarding your symptoms, their frequency, and how they affect your daily life. This information helps the SSA understand the full impact of your condition. Even minor medical issues that result from or worsen your disability can have a big impact on your work capabilities and daily activities.

Types of Medical Evidence & Test Results

The SSA requires specific medical evidence based on each claimant’s disability and circumstances. Typically, it’s advisable to provide documentation from your primary care physician, specialists, surgical reports, and any relevant medical test results.

Some examples of supportive medical evidence that could benefit your claim include:

  • X-ray, MRI, and other imaging test results
  • Physical therapy records
  • Blood tests
  • Current and previous prescribed treatment plans and results
  • Specialist reports
  • Psychological evaluations and therapy notes
  • Cognitive test results
  • Operative reports
  • Medications, their dosages, and side effects
  • Progress notes from a doctor, psychologist, or treating counselor
  • A psychiatric evaluation
  • Observations and descriptions of how you function during exams or therapy
  • Results of physical or mental status examinations
  • Results of psychiatric or psychological rating scales

Your physician can help you gather the right types of evidence needed for your specific impairment. They may also write a disability doctor letter detailing the impact of your medical condition on your everyday activities and capacity to sustain employment.

Why Hire a Disability Attorney?

A qualified disability attorney and your doctor can work together to prove you meet a Blue Book listing’s medical criteria. The Blue Book is the SSA’s guide to medical conditions that qualify for disability benefits.

Doctors who fill out disability paperwork need to be thorough and precise, as their input significantly impacts your claim’s success. Your attorney can help ensure provided evidence meets the SSA’s standards.

What Is an RFC Assessment?

If your condition doesn’t satisfy the medical criteria to qualify for disability benefits, the SSA can perform a Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) assessment. This assessment is used to determine what work you can still do despite your disability.

You can request your treating physician to fill out an RFC form that the SSA will take into account when conducting your assessment. Your doctor should detail your physical and/or mental limitations, which helps the SSA decide if you can perform any type of work. Your RFC assessment will either confirm or deny your eligibility for disability benefits.

Disability Claim Denials

If your disability claim is denied, don’t give up. Many initial claims are denied due to incomplete documentation or insufficient medical evidence. If this happens, our legal team at the Patrick J. Kelly Law Office can help.

We will review your claim and identify any issues that may have led to the denial. We’ll also work with your doctor to gather more detailed medical records and build a strong case for your appeal.

Can a Doctor Refuse to Fill Out Disability Paperwork?

Yes, a doctor can refuse to complete paperwork that would help validate your claim, but they can’t withhold your medical records. However, working with a supportive and cooperative medical professional is crucial to the success of your application.

Our experienced legal team at the Patrick J. Kelly Law Office can help you locate a trusted physician to help validate your claim.

What Is a Consultative Exam?

Consultative examinations are sometimes required by the SSA to gather additional information about your condition. An SSD doctor conducts these exams to provide an independent assessment of your disability.

When attending a consultative exam, it’s helpful to know what a disability doctor looks for. The assessment can involve a physical or mental evaluation and diagnostic tests like X-rays, MRIs, bloodwork, etc. This information helps the SSA make a decision about your eligibility.

Your Trusted Social Security Disability Attorney

At the Patrick J. Kelly Law Office, our team has extensive experience helping clients apply for Social Security Disability benefits. We know what the SSA looks for and can guide you in collecting the necessary medical records to support your claim.We work closely with doctors to ensure all provided medical evidence is thorough and persuasive. Trust us to help you navigate the complex SSD application process and increase your chances of approval. Contact our law firm today to schedule a free consultation.

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