Overview of Disability

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How to win Disability

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Disability for Mental

What if you get denied?

How to file Appeals

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Working and Disability

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Disability Conditions List

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Your Medical Evidence

Filing for your Disability

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SSDRC Disability Blog

Will Social Security Follow The Opinion Of my Doctor And Approve My Disability Claim?

The opinion of a treating doctor is a valued part of the Social Security disability evaluation process. However, Social Security disability examiners will not necessarily approve a disability claim on the basis of a treating doctorís opinion alone. There are factors that might affect the relevance of a doctorís opinion when it comes to Social Security disability determinations.

Firstly, Social Security can accept medical evidence from acceptable medical sources only. Acceptable medical sources are:

A) Licensed osteopathic doctors or medical doctors;

B) Licensed or certified psychologists that might include school psychologists or other licensed or certified professionals who perform the same duties as a school psychologist only for the purposes of establishing learning disorders, borderline mental functioning, and mental retardation;

C) Licensed optometrists only to establish that an individual has a visual disorder;

D) Licensed podiatrists only to establish the fact that an individual has a foot and/or ankle impairment (the state the podiatrist practices in determines if they can do foot only or foot and ankle);

E) Speech Ėlanguage pathologists who are licensed by the state board of education agency (in the state they practice in) or hold a Certificate of Clinical Competence from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.

Opinions of these treating medical professionals are helpful to an individualís disability claim. Social Security values their opinions because they may be able to provide a more unique perspective with regard to the medical evidence contained in their treatment notes.

Additionally, treating doctors are more likely to be able to provide a detailed longitudinal assessment of an individualís impairment which cannot be obtained from medical findings, reports of single examinations, or brief visits to the hospital.

In fact, medical reports from treating doctors that provide accurate and adequate medical reports can expedite the processing of a disability claim or at the very least they can possibly reduce or eliminate the need for more medical information.

To be helpful to a disability claim, a treating doctor's statement should make reference to the claimant's medical history, including objective medical evidence such as clinical and laboratory findings, a statement with regard to diagnosis, response to prescribed treatment and prognosis.

So while the opinion of a doctor as to their patientís disability status receives special emphasis from Social Security, it does not make a difference to an individualís disability claim unless other objective medical evidence corroborates the doctorís statement. Consequently, a simple statement by a treating doctor that states the individual is disabled will not help their disability claim.

Return to:  Social Security Disability Resource Center, or read answers to Questions

Related pages:

How Often Does Social Security Approve Disability The First Time You Apply?
Can you be approved for disability without having to go to a hearing?
Filing for Disability - Blind in one eye and a Learning Disability
How long does it take to be approved and awarded disability benefits?
On disability for cerebral palsy, will I lose benefits if I marry?
How do you find out if a Social Security disability claim has been approved or even denied?
How long does it take to be approved for SSI or Social Security disability?
Will I be approved for disability on my appeal?
Why Will You be Sent to a Social Security Doctor for your disability case?
What should you get from your doctor to file for disability benefits?

Information on the following topics can be found here: Social Security Disability Questions and in these subsections:

Frequently asked questions about getting Denied for Disability Benefits | FAQ on Disability Claim Representation | Info about Social Security Disability Approvals and Being Approved | FAQ on Social Security Disability SSI decisions | The SSD SSI Decision Process and what gets taken into consideration | Disability hearings before Judges | Medical exams for disability claims | Applying for Disability in various states | Selecting and hiring Disability Lawyers | Applying for Disability in North Carolina | Recent articles and answers to questions about SSD and SSI

These pages answer some of the most basic questions for individuals who are considering filing a claim.

Filing for disability - How to file for SSD or SSI and the Information that is needed by Social Security
How to Apply for Disability - What medical conditions can you apply and qualify for?
Applying for Disability - How long does it take to get Social Security Disability or SSI benefits?
What happens if I file a disability application and it is denied by a disability examiner or Judge?
How to Prove you are disabled and qualify to win disability benefits
How do you prove your disability case if you have a mental condition or impairment?
Social Security Disability Back pay and How Long it Takes to Qualify for it and receive it
Social Security Disability SSI - Eligibility Requirements and Qualifications Criteria