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

Help Your Doctor Help You to Win Social Security Disability or SSI

This title might strike some as odd. Isn't your doctor supposed to be the one who, in an ideal world, helps you to win disability benefits? How do you, as the claimant, help your doctor to...help you in this goal? Is it even possible?

Actually, it is. Here's why. Social Security Disability claims and SSI claims are decided on one thing. Medical evidence. That medical evidence for a disability claim can be translated into many forms, including physician's notes, discharge summaries, and completed RFC forms from treating physicians. However, it all comes down to medical evidence. But, more than that, the social security administration is not simply looking for medical evidence, but what that evidence says about your ability to work and inability to work.

Many claimants who file for disability make the mistaken assumption that SSA (the social security administration) focuses entirely on the diagnosed conditions that a claimant has. But, in actuality, SSA is not concerned with the condition so much as it is with the limitations that are caused by the condition.

In a nutshell, SSA, when it reviews your medical records, is looking to see whether or not your condition (or conditions) limit you enough so that you are not able to A) perform your past work and B) transition to some form of other work.

So, when a disability examiner or disability judge (an administrative law judge) reviews your medical records, they are looking for signs of limitations. Are you unable to lift more than a certain amount of weight? Do you have trouble sitting for longer than a certain amount of time? Do you have range of motion problems that restrict your ability to reach? Do you have trouble balancing, seeing, hearing, smelling, etc, etc.

The problem, however, is that most doctors don't do a good job of recording a person's functional limitations in their medical notes. In fact, they do a miserable job and as a disability examiner I sometimes found it quite impossible to find any reference whatsoever to a claimant's residual functional capacity anywhere in a doctor's records.

So, back to the title of this post, you can actually help your doctor to "help you" (when they compile their office notes, or, even better, write a detailed statement on your behalf for your disability claim) by letting them know, when you see them on visits, what your functional limitations and problems are.

I.E. if you are having mobility problems, let your doctor know. If you are experiencing pain, let your doctor know. If you are having trouble sitting, standing, walking, grasping, reaching, etc, etc, let your doctor know. And you have to be consistent with this. Because, in many instances, your doctor will not think to ask such questions. But by volunteering the information yourself you can hopefully get your physician to record it in his or her notes. And at that point it becomes medical evidence for your case.

Essential Questions

What is the Social Security Disability SSI list of impairments?

Can you work while getting or applying for Disability?

How Often Does Social Security Approve Disability The First Time You Apply?

Tips for getting Social Security Disability or SSI benefits approved

What medical conditions will get you approved for disability?

What kind of Mental Problems Qualify for Disability?

Receiving a Disability Award Letter

Conditions Social Security will recognize as a disability

Previously answered questions regarding SSD and SSI

Applying for disability in your state

Most popular topics on SSDRC.com

Social Security Disability SSI Questions

The listings, list of disabling impairments

Can a mental illness qualify you for disability?

Disability Lawyers prevent unnecessary denials

How much Social Security Disability SSI back pay?

How to apply for disability for a child or children

Filing a Social Security Disability SSI application

Filing for disability - when to file

How to apply for disability - where to apply

Qualifications for disability benefits

How to Prove you are disabled and Win your Disability Benefits

Qualifying for Disability - The Process

How to get disability for depression

Getting disability for fibromyalgia

SSI disability for children with ADHD

What is the Application Process for Social Security Disability and SSI?

Common Mistakes to avoid after being denied for Disability

Social Security Disability SSI Exam tips

More Social Security Disability SSI Questions

Social Security Disability SSI definitions

What makes you eligible for Social Security Disability or SSI?

New and featured pages on SSDRC.com

Who can help me file for disability?

Related pages:

How do I get a copy of my Social Security Disability File on disc?
Can You Win disability if You Have Little Medical Documentation?
Can you Buy a House if you are Collecting SSI Disability?
Applying for Disability with high blood pressure
Qualifying for disability and the sets of criteria
Why does Social Security deny so many disability cases?
What do you have to do to get disability?
Will my children get benefits if I get approved for disability?
How much time for a decision on a disability claim?
How long does it take to get SSI Disability Benefits?
When can I expect my first disability check and my back pay check?
Can I get Retroactive SSI Disability Benefits?
How to file for disability in Missouri
Social Security Disability Children Benefits
Allodynia and Filing for Disability

These pages provide answers to basic questions about pursuing disability benefits

Disability lawyer fee - what does an attorney cost?
Social Security Disability appeal status
The status of your Social Security Disability or SSI case
Filing for Social Security Disability or SSI tips
Maximum SSDI SSI Disability back pay
SSI disability back pay
How Far Back Will Social Security Pay Benefits?
What if the SSDI Disability application gets denied?
How to Apply for Disability - What medical conditions
When You File an SSI or Social Security Disability Application
After you file and apply for disability
Applying for disability, the application process
Tips for how to get approved for SSDI or SSI
Social Security Disability SSDI SSI Tips
Proving Social Security Disability for a mental condition
SSDI SSI Eligibility Requirements and Criteria
Qualifying for disability benefits (SSDI or SSI)
How does a person qualify for SSDI or SSI disability, how are they eligible?

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.