Monday, September 29, 2008

Why is it Difficult to get a Doctor's help on a Social Security Disability Case?

Even addressing this particular question presupposes that many doctors are reluctant, or even unwilling, to help their patients with their social security disability case. Unfortunately, this is sometimes the reality. In the area of disability representation, I have found it to be true that many doctors will ---

A) Completely refuse to provide a detailed, supporting letter

B) Will agree to complete and provide a statement but will provide one that is ineffective because it lacks any useful information about a claimant's functionality (which is needed to establish whether or not a claimant can return to their past work or perform some type of other work).

C) Will agree to provide the type of residual functional capacity statement that is needed by a claimant or a claimant's disability attorney, but only in return for a ridiculous fee (believe it or not, some doctors will try to charge as much as five hundred dollars for a statement that should only take ten to 15 minutes).

Working in claimant representation, I have had physicians tell me on the phone that they simply do not fill out forms or write letters to help their patients who are filing for disability. Why does this happen? My own estimation is that too many doctors simply do not want to be bothered with taking time from their busy schedules.

The unfortunate reality for many claimants is that, though a statement from a doctor may help them to win their social security disability case at a hearing, their doctor may not assist them.

Despite this reality, however, a claimant should always make the attempt to get a completed statement from their doctor in support of their case. Further yet, if the doctor expresses reluctance in doing this, they should not give up. I have personally been involved in situations in which a physician finally agreed to supply a statement (or complete a form, such as a residual functional capacity form ) after several requests had been made. Of course, claimants who do not feel comfortable in making such requests and who are represented by a disability lawyer may never have to do this on their own. Typically, a social security disability representative will, in the course of preparing a case for hearing, attempt to gain a supporting statement from a claimant's treating physician

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