Will You Be Denied For Disability If Your Records Indicate You Can Return To Work?
There is no denying that it does not help an individual's disability claim if their medical records state that they can return to work. However, Social Security Disability determinations must be based upon objective medical evidence from acceptable medical sources (physicians, psychologists, etc.). This means that a simple statement that an individual can return to work may not carry that much wait if the medical evidence contained in the records does not support the doctor's opinion (as to the individual's ability to return to work).
Very often, individuals who receive treatment for work related injuries go to doctors who are paid by the company they work for. Obviously, it is in the best interest of the company if the doctor indicates that the employee can return to work. There are so many reasons that medical record statements may diminish the degree of limitation that an individual actually has.
Sometimes, these statements occur simply because the individual has reached maximum medical improvement and the doctor states that they can go back to work. Of course, the doctor often does not elaborate as to what work the individual might be able to do considering their residual functional capacity (what they are able to do despite the limitations of their condition).
So there is no reason to just assume that an individual's disability claim will be denied just because there is a mention that they can return to work in their records. Each disability case is evaluated upon its medical evidence. Additionally, even if an individual's disability claim is denied at the initial disability claim level, they can use the Social Security Disability appeal process to win their benefits. If an individual appeals their disability claim through the administrative law judge hearing they have a very good chance of being approved for disability.
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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