Navigating a Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) claim can be a nerve-wracking and confusing experience – and it may surprise you to learn that your doctor cannot simply “put you on disability” by writing a letter.
Instead, the Social Security Administration (SSA) will use a complex evaluation system to decide if you meet their criteria to qualify for benefits. However, your doctor’s support can count for a lot – and you can help your doctor help you by telling them exactly what you need from them to make things easier. For example, you can ask them to do the following.
Correct any errors in your medical record
Before you go to this appointment, access your provider’s “patient portal” and review your medical records. Make sure that everything you see is correct. Roughly 25% of patients find mistakes in their files, many of them serious – and your medical records need to be current and correct if you want benefits. Ask your doctor to address any concerns you have about what you find there and make corrections as needed.
Promptly respond to requests for documents
One of the most common reasons for SSDI denials is the lack of supporting medical evidence for a claim. Quite often, it’s not that the medical evidence doesn’t exist – it just never makes its way back to SSA. This is often a failure by the office staff or officer manager to respond to SSA’s requests for information in a timely fashion. Ask your doctor who in their office handles such requests so you can follow up with them when necessary.
Complete the residual functional capacity assessment
RFC forms are routinely sent to primary care providers to get a clearer picture of a disability applicant’s ability (or inability) to do things like walk, stand, sit and more. Ask your doctor to be aware that this form will be coming and that its return is both time-sensitive and critical for your claim.
Most doctors are supportive of their patients, so don’t be afraid to ask for what you need. If your SSDI claim is denied despite your doctor’s support, it may be time to seek legal assistance.