Overview of Disability

Disability Back Pay

Disability Requirements

Disability Applications

Disability Advice Tips

How long do cases take?

How to win Disability

SSD Mistakes to avoid

Disability for Mental

What if you get denied?

How to file Appeals

Disability through SSA

SSI Disability Benefits

Disability for Children

How do I qualify for it?

Working and Disability

Disability Award Notice

Disability Lawyer Q&A

Disability Conditions List

What is a disability?

Your Medical Evidence

Filing for your Disability

Disability Eligibility

SSD SSI Definitions

Recent Questions

SSDRC Disability Blog

Can your doctor help you get your disability?

There is no question that your doctor can help you win your disability benefits. However, the doctor must actually be your doctor, someone who has seen you for a period of time, not just a doctor that you've only gone to once for some illness or issue.

Social Security tends to look at signed statements and medical records from a person's "treating physician" differently than if they came from, for example, an emergency room or urgent care doctor.

What is a treating physician? (this page How Important is the Treating Physician to a Social Security Disability or SSI case? helps define this). A treating physician is someone who either presently, or in the past, has provided medical treatment to a disability claimant in the context of an ongoing relationship.

As we've discussed, what this means is that the doctor you may have seen just once for a particular condition cannot be considered as a treating physician by either a disability examiner or a disability judge. And, as a consequence of this, the information they provide to social security may not carry as much weight as the information provided by a physician who has, or has had, an established history of providing you medical treatment.

A doctor who has a history of seeing you, diagnosing your condition, tracking its progress, and treating it will be in the position of providing an opinion that Social Security will consider to be valid. And this, of course, can lead to an approval for disability, particularly when the doctor has provided something known as a medical source statement.

When a doctor does not complete a medical source statement, but, instead, a less formal type of statement for their patient's disability claim, attention should be given to the concerns listed on this page: What a statement from a doctor should say for a disability case.

Of course, all of this discussion goes back to what most claimant's disability representatives and lawyers advise their clients to do: to strengthen your case, you should continue to receive medical treatment from those who have a history of treating you (for the purpose of further developing the medical record).

However, it also touches on something else, something a bit more tactical which is "don't keep bouncing from one doctor to the next, because, in the end, the doctors that you only see once or twice will not be in a position to issue an authoritative statement regarding your functional limitations. In other words, the quality of your medical records can influence the chances of being approved versus denied for social security disability or SSI.


1. Will Social Security listen to what my doctor says?
2. Will Social Security Attempt To Get A Letter From Your Doctor?
3. A statement from your doctor can help your disability case
4. Proving a Disability Case Often Means Getting a Statement or letter from a Doctor

Return to:  Social Security Disability Resource Center, or read answers to Questions

Related pages:

How to file for disability in Tennessee
Vertigo and Filing for Disability
Tips for filing a Social Security Disability Reconsideration
What happens after you request a disability hearing?
Which medical conditions will social security recognize as a disability?
The Social Security Disability Approval Process and the Criteria for Decisions
How to file for disability in Iowa
How does a Medical Source Statement (RFC Form) help win a disability?
Filing for disability with autism
How long to get a Social Security decision letter?
Traditional acupuncture showed lasting improvement for migraine sufferers
Why women are more at risk for lupus
Chronic fatigue and effect on physical endurance
How to file for disability in New York
Social Security medical disability determination process

Information on the following topics can be found here: Social Security Disability Questions and in these subsections:

Frequently asked questions about getting Denied for Disability Benefits | FAQ on Disability Claim Representation | Info about Social Security Disability Approvals and Being Approved | FAQ on Social Security Disability SSI decisions | The SSD SSI Decision Process and what gets taken into consideration | Disability hearings before Judges | Medical exams for disability claims | Applying for Disability in various states | Selecting and hiring Disability Lawyers | Applying for Disability in North Carolina | Recent articles and answers to questions about SSD and SSI

These pages provide answers to basic questions about pursuing disability benefits

How and why to check Social Security Disability Status
Social Security Disability back pay
Non medical requirements for disability
Qualifying for disability, SSD SSI
When does social security consider you eligible for disability benefits?
Who qualifies for SSI?
Forms to complete when filing, applying for disability
How long does SSDI and SSI disability take to get?
Filing for disability with Depression
Can You Get Approved For SSI or SSD Benefits with a Mental Condition
How long for a disability judge to make a decision?
While you are in your disability interview
The SSD and SSI definition of disability
Filing for disability with carpal tunnel syndrome
Social Security Disability SSI and Fibromyalgia
Can you work if you get a disability check?
Disability application denied
File for disability, the application
How to get disability benefits
Conditions that get approved for disability
How to Appeal a disability claim denial from Social Security