How to file for disability, Filing for SSI
Disability Requirements, Disability Status
How long is the wait?, Disability Application
The Social Security List of Impairments
Qualifying for Disability, Mental Disability
Disability Lawyer Info, Disability Back Pay

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 doctor’s opinion alone. There are factors that might affect the relevance of a doctor’s 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 –language 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 individual’s 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 individual’s 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 patient’s disability status receives special emphasis from Social Security, it does not make a difference to an individual’s disability claim unless other objective medical evidence corroborates the doctor’s statement. Consequently, a simple statement by a treating doctor that states the individual is disabled will not help their disability claim.

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How Often Does Social Security Approve Disability The First Time You Apply?
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Filing for Disability - Blind in one eye and a Learning Disability
How long does it take to be approved and awarded disability benefits?
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Will I qualify for disability Alabama

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

Can you get temporary Social Security Disability or SSI benefits?

Permanent Social Security Disability

What is the difference between Social Security Disability and SSI?

Who is eligible for SSI disability?

Can I Be Eligible For SSI And Social Security Disability At The Same Time?

What makes a person eligible to receive disability benefits?

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?

For the sake of clarity, SSDRC.com is not the Social Security Administration, nor is it associated or affiliated with SSA. This site is a personal, private website that is published, edited, and maintained by former caseworker and former disability claims examiner, Tim Moore, who was interviewed by the New York Times on the topic of Social Security Disability and SSI benefits in an article entitled "The Disability Mess" and also by the Los Angeles Times on the subject of political attempts to weaken the Social Security Disability system.

The goal of the site is to provide information about how Social Security Disability and SSI work, the idea being that qualified information may help claimants pursue their claims and appeals, potentially avoiding time-consuming mistakes. If you find the information on this site helpful and believe it would be helpful to others, feel free to share links to its homepage or other pages on website resource pages, blogs, or social media. Copying of this material, however, is prohibited.

To learn more about the author, please visit the SSDRC.com homepage and view the "about this site" link near the bottom of the page.