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

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

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 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

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

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.