Treating Physicians and Your Disability Claim

At Marken Law Group, PS, we help all people file their initial claim, represent claimants during their appeals, in front of an Administrative Law Judge, and even before Federal District Court. Part of any disability claim is objective medical evidence, or your medical records.

Once you have established severe impairments, often one of the most important pieces of evidence are statements from your physician and/or mental health counselor. A general letter typically will not suffice but won’t necessarily hurt your claim. You need an attorney who is well versed in the Social Security Act, knows what the judges and medical experts, if they testify, are looking for in deciding your claim.

Code of Federal Regulations 404.1527(c)(2) states “we give more weight to opinions from your treating sources, since these sources are likely to be the medical professionals most able to provide a detailed, longitudinal picture of your medical impairment(s) and may bring a unique perspective to the medical evidence that cannot be obtained from the objective medical findings alone or from reports of individual examinations, such as consultative examinations or brief hospitalizations. If we find that a treating source’s opinion on the issue(s) of the nature and severity of your impairment(s) is well-supported by medically acceptable clinical and laboratory diagnostic techniques and is not inconsistent with the other substantial evidence in your case record, we will give it controlling weight.”

Length of treatment is vital. As the federal regulation continues in section (i) “the longer a treating source has treated you and the more times you have been seen by a treating source, the more weight we will give to the source’s medical opinion. When the treating source has seen you a number of times and long enough to have obtained a longitudinal picture of your impairment, we will give the source’s opinion more weight than we would give it if it were from a nontreating source.”

What this means is the administrative law judge, as defined in 9th Circuit Law, has to give controlling weight to a TREATING physician UNLESS they detail “specific and legitimate” reasons in rejecting the opinion. If you have treated with your physician and/or mental health counselor for a significant time period, typically over 1 year, their opinions can be CRUCIAL to you winning your claim and obtaining the disability benefits you rightfully deserve.

At Marken Law Group, PS, we have tailored questionnaires specifically designed to be the most effective at the hearing level. We would be happy to discuss your claim with you for free. No Benefits, No Fee!