Getting your doctor to help with your disability
If you have a Social Security Disability claim, nothing potentially helps your claim more than a physician's opinion with regard to your disabling condition or conditions, and the resulting physical or mental functional limitations that result from it. That being said, the opinion cannot be simply that you are disabled. Your doctor's opinion has to be substantiated by objective medical evidence and presented in a certain way to be valuable to your disability claim.
Your doctor can do this a couple of ways. They can complete a Mental Residual Functional Report (MRFC) or a Physical Residual Functional Report (PRFC) for you. These forms can be sent to your doctor by the disability examiner. They provide a detailed report of your disabling condition along with functional limitations caused by your condition. Some doctors do not like to take the time to complete these forms; however, if possible, they are very helpful.
If your doctor does not wish to complete either of these forms, perhaps they could consider a physician statement. This is referred to as a medical source statement. A medical source statement is actually what a disability representative or disability attorney who is preparing a case for a disability hearing, is more likely to attempt to have completed by a claimant's physician(s).
This statement must contain a diagnosis, treatment, and response to treatment, medications, and a prognosis. Your doctor should also include an opinion as to the limitations caused by your conditions and your potential ability to work when these limitations are considered.
The medical source statement sent to a doctor by a disability representative or disability lawyer will most likely be a canned multipage check-off form. Sometimes, the form is designed to specifically address one specific medical condition, or, more often, the form does not address one impairment but still allows the doctor to address the patient's various functional limitations in great detail. This, of course, allows the judge to have a very clear presentation of whether or not an individual's condition meets the Social Security definition of disability that is used for SSD and SSI claims.
About the Author: Tim Moore is a former Social Security Disability Examiner in North Carolina, has been interviewed by the NY Times and the LA Times on the disability system, and is an Accredited Disability Representative (ADR) in North Carolina. For assistance on a disability application or Appeal in NC, click here.
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