If My Doctor Gives Me a Letter Will I Get Disability in Texas?

Social Security Disability programs are based up a medical finding of disability that is supported by objective medical evidence and the inability to perform substantial gainful work activity for at least twelve continuous months, or that the condition is expected to result in death.

In order to get disability benefits in Texas you must first complete an application with Social Security. During your application interview you are asked to provide Social Security with all of your medical treatment source information.

Additionally you must provide information about the types of work that you have been performing over the last fifteen years. Remember, disability eligibility depends upon your inability to perform substantial work activity due to the limitations imposed by your disabling condition. This means that even if you have a severe impairment that causes significant limitations, your disability claim will still be denied if you are performing significant work activity.

Now let's review the actual question. If my doctor gives me a letter will I get disability?

Well, that depends upon the letter your doctor gives you. For instance, if your doctor gives you a letter with a blanket statement that 'my patient is totally disabled', it will not likely help your disability claim or chances of getting disability benefits at all.

While Social Security does not value this type of letter, SSA does value statements (at least at the disability hearing level -- at the initial claim and reconsideration level, examiners often disregard such statements) that include detailed information that may include a synopsis of one's medical history, diagnosis, treatment prescribed, response to treatment, and clinical findings, along with a statement that provides an opinion as to what a claimant is able to do in spite of their medical and/or mental impairments.

A letter should in some way address your ability to perform work related activities such as walking, sitting, standing, lifting, carrying, handling things, hearing, and speaking if you are applying for disability based upon a physical impairment.

If you are applying for disability in Texas based upon a mental impairment, the statement should likewise include a rating of your residual functional capacity, and would be helpful to include a description of your ability to understand, remember and complete instructions, and withstand the pressures of a work environment, including proper response to supervisors and coworkers.

Whether a claim is based upon a physical or mental impairment, a statement from a claimant's treating source should address functionality, and the extent to which the claimant's ability to engage in normal daily activities has been reduced as a result of the conditions in question.

Social Security Disability determinations are complex enough that a simple unsubstantiated letter from your doctor stating that you are disabled will not help you get your disability benefits. If you physician or mental health treatment professional wants to help your disability claim have him supply a medical source statement (see RFC form) and provide the information listed above.

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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These pages provide answers to basic questions about pursuing disability benefits

What to Prove to Qualify for Disability Benefits
Applying for disability benefits, SSI and SSDI
What Disabilities Qualify for SSI and Social Security Disability?
How does back pay for Social Security Disability work?
Social Security Disability And SSI Qualifications
Permanent Disability Qualifications for SSD and SSI
Status of your Social Security Disability or SSI case
Disability lawyer representation, finding lawyers
What is qualifying for disability based on?
How to qualify for disability, qualifying for Benefits
Qualifications for Disability Benefits
How long does it take to get disability after applying?
Disability application, how to file in Texas
Texas disability requirements
Eligibility and qualifying for disability in Texas
What are the qualifications for disability in Texas?
Will I Qualify For Disability Benefits in Texas?
Getting a Texas disability lawyer, attorney, or advocate