The Role of the Treating Doctor in Social Security Disability Determinations

Your treating doctor will routinely ask your Denver disability attorney how to best answer questions the Social Security Administration (SSA) may ask about your impairments.  It is important to distinguish between what your treating doctor may wish to provide to help you heal, and that which will be helpful in your SSA disability claim.  The two are not always the same.

What Exactly Is the Role of the “Treating” Doctor?

Denver disability attorneyBy the SSA guidelines, the treating doctor is the medical professional most able to provide a detailed, longitudinal picture of a claimant’s medical impairments.  A Denver disability attorney will suggest what that means in plain language is that the SSA places greater weight on your treating doctor’s opinion than can be gained from objective medical findings or reports alone.

What Information Does the SSA Require from the Treating Doctor?

SSA guidelines indicate a treating doctor may be asked about the nature, severity, extent and duration of the claimant’s impairments, including:

  1. Observations and opinions about how well the claimant is able to function
  2. The effects of any treatments, including side effects, and
  3. How long the impairments are expected to limit the claimant’s ability to function.

Why Do the “Functional Capacity” Forms Require so Much Detail?

The claimant’s ability to work is the threshold determination.  ADenverdisability attorney can explain that it is likely that vocational experts will testify at the hearing.  The administrative law judge assigned to the case will ultimately rule on the issue of whether or not if jobs, in consideration of the stated limitations, exist for this particular claimant.

The SSA Forms Do Not Allow the Treating Doctor to Provide a Full Evaluation.  What then?

Add details.  Write in the margins.  The more information the doctor provides, the more weight the SSA will give that opinion.

A finding of disability by the SSA is not a simple matter.  You need an experienced professional on your side.  John Cimino, a Denver disability attorney is here to help.  Call 1-800-626-6437 for a free, no obligation consultation.