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

At what point should my doctor provide a letter for my disability case?

Someone recently wondered at what point a doctor should complete a medical source statement (see residual functional capacity form) months before the hearing or just right before the social security hearing.

If your treating physician will agree to complete such a statement on your behalf, it is best to try to have the form completed sometime right before the hearing. This allows the form to be viewed as current medical evidence and indicative of the claimant's true condition and their level of functionality, as expressed by their doctor.

Getting a form from a doctor too far in advance will not necessarily invalidate the information presented; however, logically, it does bring up the question in a disability adjudicator's mind: "Do these limitations currently apply to the claimant". In other words, it may "age out" the form.

Disability claimant's who are not represented prior to their social security hearing and who wish to obtain a medical source statement from their doctor may find it productive to actually take the form to their doctor's office, noting the date of the hearing and the need to receive the completed form back sometime before the hearing takes place.

Claimant's who are represented, on the other hand, will typically not have to bother with this as their disability attorney or non-attorney disability representative "should" be doing this on their own (to my mind, it would be questionable for a representative not to make such an attempt and a claimant who is represented by someone who does not attempt to procure such physician statements should perhaps consider finding other representation)

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These pages provide answers to basic questions about pursuing disability benefits

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Disability for a mental condition
Tips for Filing for disability
Financial Help Filing For Disability
Checklist for filing for disability, SSI or SSD
Qualifying for disability benefits, how to qualify for SSD or SSI
Filing a disability application: the steps
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How to Apply for Disability - Where do I go?
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How to check my disability claim status?
Can a disability attorney speed up a disability case?
SSI disability Award Letter
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How to apply for disability benefits
How long does disability back pay take?
What are qualifications for getting disability?
What medical conditions can you file disability for?
Disability Lawyer help questions
Social Security Attorneys, Disability Representatives

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.