The Importance of Your Doctor’s Statement in your Disability Case

In proving your disability claim, it is important to have a strong statement from your treating physician regarding your impairment and how it affects you. Your impairment, and any related symptoms, such as pain, may cause physical and mental limitations that affect what you can do in a work setting. Your residual functional capacity (RFC) is the most you can still do despite your limitations. The Social Security Administration will assess your RFC based on all the relevant evidence in your case record. Keeping this in mind, you should be open and honest when you talk to your doctor about your pain or how you are having difficulty.

The more specific you can be in communicating with your physician the better. Clarify what types of activities are now difficult for you such as bending, lifting, reaching, stooping, standing, walking, sitting and any other movements in which you are experiencing reduced functionality.

You should note that it is common for doctors to NOT make reference to your physical or mental limitations when writing their treatment notes. However, this is precisely the type of information that you need to submit to the Social Security administration to support your claim. Therefore, you should make it clear to your doctor how your injury or condition is impacting you, as well as how your functionality is limited during each visit. This increases the likelihood of the information being recorded in your treatment notes.

Your Social Security disability case will not be won on the simple fact that you have an injury or condition. Rather, it will be won or lost based upon the extent to which you are physically or mentally limited by your disability. The Social Security administration will look at how your disability impacts your ability to return to your former job, as well as your ability to perform any other work which exists in substantial numbers in the local and national economy.

We have specific forms and questionnaires we often send to doctors to help them set forth your RFC. Administrative Law Judges find these to be very helpful in making their disability determinations. Some doctors are not comfortable expressing opinions on your limitations, so we can arrange for a formal functional capacity evaluation (FCE) with a trained physical therapist. The physical therapist will create a report commenting on your exertional level (sedentary, light, medium, etc.) and we can have your treating physician comment on this report. Normally, they will endorse the opinion of the physical therapist.

If you have any questions about your social security disability benefits, call on an experienced social security attorney to ensure that your legal rights are protected and that you receive the compensation you deserve. For more than 32 years Murphy & Garner has represented claimants throughout the state of Georgia and in East Alabama. For a free consultation, call 866-942-0552 or 678-563-1584.

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Stephen E. Garner
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