What Is the Role of Your Treating Doctors in a Social Security Disability Claim?

doctor treating patientWhile you will need objective evidence that your medical condition is severe enough to qualify for Social Security Disability benefits, opinions from doctors you see multiple times carry a lot of weight.

Below, our Appleton Social Security Disability lawyers explain the role of treating doctors in a disability claim and what they can provide to support an application for disability benefits.

If you are attempting to secure federal disability benefits, contact Sigman Janssen today to learn how we may be able to assist you. Our attorneys have a proven track record of success helping our clients obtain benefits.

Call (877) 888-5201. There are no upfront costs or fees with our services.

Evidence From Treating Doctors

The licensed physician or physicians who have been treating your medical condition are considered acceptable medical sources. The Social Security Administration (SSA) requires disability applicants to obtain documentation of their impairment from these acceptable medical sources. In fact, many applications are approved or denied based on the medical evidence from these sources.

Generally, all doctors are considered acceptable medical sources. Someone like a chiropractor is not generally considered an acceptable medical source.

You need to provide evidence from all the doctors who have treated your medical condition. For example, you may be seeing a primary care doctor and an orthopedist. Some applicants may have frequent appointments with cardiologists and potentially other specialists.

It is especially important to have evidence from doctors who have treated you multiple times, as these doctors have a thorough understanding of your medical condition and its effect on your physical or mental capabilities.

The doctors who have seen you numerous times can offer an informed perspective that goes beyond objective evidence of your condition. This helps give the SSA a deeper understanding of your condition and whether it fits their eligibility criteria.

Written Statements From Treating Doctors

The doctors who have been treating your condition can provide significant detail about your medical issues, such as:

  • When you were diagnosed and when treatment for your condition began
  • Your long-term prognosis – how long your condition is expected to last
  • Physical restrictions caused by your illness, such as limited ability to walk
  • How you have responded to treatment
  • Daily activities and work activities you can or cannot perform (lifting heavy things, staying seated at a desk for long periods, carrying things, etc.)
  • Test results supporting your diagnosis, such as medical imaging, blood tests, physical evaluations, etc.
  • Other observations that may be relevant to your case

After you obtain this information, our lawyers may be able to help you pursue the benefits you need.

Documentation of Ongoing Treatment

Your treating doctors should also document ongoing treatment you have received, including:

  • How frequent your treatments are (weekly, twice a month, monthly, etc.)
  • How long your treatment plan is (weeks, months, years, etc.)
  • How long your treatments last (30 minutes, one hour, etc.).

Ongoing medical treatment is essential in substantiating your SSD claim. You need to show that you are taking the recommended steps to try to improve your condition. If these treatments are not working, it helps to show the severity of your condition.

If you stop treatment, claims examiners cannot determine if your condition is likely to improve. For instance, if doctors recommend surgery and that surgery has been shown to improve conditions like yours, refusing it would be bad for your application.

What if I Have Received Treatment From a Doctor Who is Not an Acceptable Medical Source?

Opinions from these types of doctors may support your claim, but they likely will not carry much weight with claims examiners. If you have received treatment from this type of doctor, you should discuss it with an experienced lawyer. You do not want to include information in your application that might hurt your chances of getting approved for benefits.

Need Help Applying for Social Security Disability? Contact Our Experienced Attorneys

At Sigman Janssen, we have extensive knowledge of the eligibility criteria, and the information people need to have a chance of getting approved for benefits.

Call us to review your situation in a free, no-obligation consultation. We do not charge upfront costs or fees, and we do not get paid unless our clients receive benefits.

Call our team today at (877) 888-5201.