This post addresses the question: if my doctor says I am disabled, will I be approved for SSI (Supplemental Security Income)?
Some clients are actually instructed to apply for disability benefits by their doctor because of the severity of their condition. It is important to note that the ultimate decision as to if you are disabled is reserved to the Commissioner of Social Security. Your doctor can give his/her opinion on whether she/he believes you are disabled and eligible for SSI, but this is not decisive.
Doctors often write: “I believe this person is permanently disabled.” While this sounds good, it really does not help in a Social Security Disability case (For information on the disability process look here.) Doctors help their clients the most by discussing why your problems render you disabled; what kind of physical and mental restrictions you have from your health issues and what type of treatments you have tried.
When evaluating your doctor’s opinion, the Social Security Administration will look at how long/frequently you have been seeing your doctor, what testing they have performed on you and if they are a specialist. A list of the factors that the Social Security Administration considers:
1. Examining Relationship – The opinion of a doctor who has actually examined you will be given more weight than the opinion of a doctor who has not examined you. Doctors at DDS will not examine you, they make decisions solely based on the evidence in your Social Security Disability file. Look here for more information on DDS.
2. Treating Relationship – Have you been seeing the doctor who gave their opinion for a short period? If so, their opinion may not mean as much as an opinion from a doctor that you have seen for a longer period.
3. Supportability – Is your doctor’s opinion supported by the rest of their medical records (x-rays, MRIs, treatment notes, etc.) and the other medical evidence of record?
4. Specialization – Is the doctor who gave the opinion a specialist on your impairment (i.e. neurologist, rheumatologist…)? If so, their opinion may be given greater weight. For more information look here.
If your doctor says you are disabled, it may help your SSI case, but only if it is properly supported by the rest of your medical records. If you need help with your Social Security Disability or Supplemental Security Income case in Raleigh, Cary, Durham or surrounding areas in North Carolina, give the Bishop Law Firm a call today. We want to help!