Your Doctor’s Role

If you apply for disability benefits, one of the Social Security Administration’s primary inquiries will be into your capacity for performing work-related activities. In all likelihood, your treating physicians will be key witnesses in establishing your ability to work. Consistently, you need to inform your Lakeland disability attorney of the names of all of your doctors so that he or she can contact them and obtain their medical opinions regarding your limitations.

Similarly to your Lakeland disability attorney, the Social Security Administration will request detailed information from your doctors regarding your ability to work. It is extremely important that your doctors provide as much specific information as possible. If your claim for benefits reaches the appellate hearing level, your doctors’ opinions will be a major factor in the administrative law judge’s (ALJ) determination of your ability to work.

The Social Security Administration uses standard forms when requesting information from doctors, and some of the questions may be inapplicable to your case. As long as your doctors completely answer all of the relevant questions, they will provide the Social Security Administration with an accurate description of your capacity to work.

Some of Social Security’s standard questions do not necessarily lend themselves to “yes” or “no” responses, but the Social Security Administration does not provide space on its forms for elaboration. When these questions arise, your doctor will need to find space in the margins of the form to write his or her answers. More detailed answers are given more weight by the Social Security Administration, and a full explanation of your impairment is more likely to sway an ALJ than a brief one.

Sometimes, claimants’ treating physicians’ have personal beliefs that all individuals, regardless of any physical impairment, are capable of working in some capacity. While you may be concerned a doctor who espouses that belief will harm your claim, you do not need to be. If your doctor describes special accommodations, such as a flexible work schedule, frequent breaks, and limited physical exertion, that would enable you to work, the Social Security Administration will have a clearer understanding of the basis for your claim, and your Lakeland disability attorney will be better positioned to obtain benefits on your behalf.

For a free consultation with a Lakeland disability attorney, please contact Smith, Feddeler & Smith at (863) 688-7766.