Before you can qualify for disability benefits, the Social Security Administration (SSA) requires medical evidence to prove you suffer from a qualifying impairment that is permanent and prevents you from working. You should discuss your intent to apply for disability with your doctor before you file your claim. Your doctor can help your case with the SSA.
For assistance with your claim, contact the disability lawyers at Berger and Green today. We can help you understand which documents you need from your doctor to qualify for disability benefits and file your claim with the SSA. Call us at 412-661-1400 today for a free consultation.
What Information Do I Need to File a Claim?
The only information you need from your doctor to apply for disability is their name and contact information. However, we recommend submitting other information to help your case.
First, you will need to supply the name and contact information for all of your doctors. You should also compile a list of every hospital where you received treatment for your condition.
As a part of your claim, you will need to complete an Adult Disability Report. This report outlines:
- Your current condition; and
- Your diagnosis; and
- Your impairment; and
- How your condition has affected your work history.
If you have any medical records or test results that apply to your case, you should submit these along with your claim. While the SSA will request all your applicable records during the disability determination process, the records you submit can help your case if your doctor fails to submit them as requested.
What Counts as Evidence of a Qualifying Impairment?
Each qualifying diagnosis must meet certain criteria to get disability, as outlined in the Blue Book of impairment listings. The medical evidence must show you meet these criteria.
The disability examiner who handles your case will contact the doctors and hospitals listed on your application to request your medical records and other applicable documents. These records might serve as medical evidence to support your claim. While the type of evidence necessary depends on the type of impairment and other factors, you might need any of the following documentation:
- Laboratory results and reports; or
- Imaging scans, including x-rays, CT scans, and MRIs; or
- Surgery reports and surgeon’s notes; or
- Notes about hospitalizations and required treatment; or
- Your history of treatments and outcomes.
In addition, the SSA will likely send a medical assessment form to your doctor. If this occurs in your case, you should ensure your doctor completes it. Because they are familiar with your case, your doctor’s assessment of your impairment carries a lot of weight in getting approval for disability benefits.
Are There Other Ways to Qualify for Disability?
If the disability examiner cannot prove you meet qualifying criteria based on your medical records—or you do not meet a Blue Book listing—they will look at your Residual Functional Capacity (RFC). There are several ways they can assess your RFC, including relying on information from your primary care provider or asking another doctor to complete an assessment based on their knowledge of your case and your medical records.
If this is the approach the SSA takes in your case, it will send a request to your doctor to complete an RFC assessment form. This form asks your doctor to provide detailed information about how your health condition—or combination of conditions—prevents you from working and earning a living.
Other ways the Office of Disability Determination Services can assess your RFC include:
- Having an agency doctor assess your abilities based on the information you submitted with your claim and the available medical evidence; or
- Asking you to attend a consultative exam with a doctor to assess your remaining abilities and determine whether you can work.
What If the SSA Already Denied My Application?
If the SSA rejected your application for disability benefits, we can help you appeal your denial and fight for the monthly payments you need to make ends meet. The Berger and Green team will:
- Get to the bottom of why the SSA denied your claim; and
- Help you collect additional evidence to try to prove your disability; and
- Argue for approval during your appeals hearing.
If your disabling impairment occurred because of someone else’s negligence, we might also be able to hold them liable through an insurance claim or lawsuit. This process could recover additional damages for you, in addition to disability benefits.
Call our team today at 412-661-1400 for a free case evaluation and consultation.