Unfortunately, not all physicians are supportive of the Social Security disability program. The reasons for their reluctance to help can vary from not having time to fill out paperwork to outright disapproval of public benefits. Whatever the reason, a doctor’s refusal to cooperate can have a significantly negative impact on your claim.
In many ways, your treating physician acts as your ally against claims examiners who may try to deny your benefits. Your doctor is required to give his professional opinion about your condition and whether or not you can be medically-considered disabled.
If you and your doctor don't agree on the terms of your disability, it will ultimately be easier for the Social Security Administration (SSA) to deny your claim.
Your Doctor is Only One Part of Your Disability Claim
While your doctor is vital to winning your disability claim, there are a number of different parties involved in making the decision about your benefits. The SSA will ultimately make its determination based through:
- Medical evidence. The SSA will consider the medical opinions from all of your attending physicians, including specialists who have treated your condition. However, these opinions are only valid if they're based on the medical evidence provided in your claim. If one of your doctor’s assessments isn't supported by clinical evidence or test results, it may be overlooked—especially if other physicians’ opinions are supported by evidence.
- A consultative exam. Many claimants have to undergo a medical examination by a doctor appointed by Social Security. These doctors evaluate your condition and identify your limitations and restrictions. The doctor isn't asked to make a disability decision, but reviews your health and your personal physician's medical report to make sure the conclusions about your condition are supported by medical evidence.
- Claims examiners. Claims examiners ultimately decide whether you are disabled according to Social Security’s specific definition of disability. They use medical evidence from a variety of sources, and can deny claims for any number of reasons.
If your doctor refuses to help you, your best option may be to change doctors. While it may be time-consuming to change physicians, it's often worth it to find someone who is sympathetic to your case to treat you. To find out what the next move in your disability case should be, contact our experienced disability attorneys today by filling out the form on this page.