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Doctor’s Opinions in Social Security Claims

Marken Law Group, PS, has walked hundreds of claimants through the disability process with the Social Security Administration. Be it child disability, adult, SSI, we can help you navigate the complexities to obtain benefits. We do not charge a fee unless you obtain the benefits you deserve.

Your own doctor could be, and very often will be, the KEY to you obtaining Social Security Disability benefits! To begin, the Social Security Administration bases disability findings on your MEDICAL RECORD. Have you been treating and have you been treating CONSISTENTLY? This is the first hurdle to overcome.

If you HAVE been treating consistently, over 12 months, at a provider be it mental health or physical health, a DOCTORS written opinion regarding your level of functioning can significantly help you obtain benefits. Note, and this is so IMPORTANT, the doctor completing the statement must be SPECIFIC. If your medical doctor writes a letter they must cite SPECIFIC diagnosis and SPECIFIC functional limits in their opinion based on their experience and being your treating provider. What is pointless is if your medical doctor writes “John Doe cannot work.” While this might help with your employer or otherwise, Social Security will state this is not sufficient. It doesn’t tell them what you cannot do such as lift 50 pounds or, if mental health is involved, work with the public or accept stress in a normal work environment. The more specific, the better.

Social Security might call their own experts to testify at the hearing. If your medical doctor has specifically and clearly laid out an opinion letter regarding specific limitations based upon objective medical evidence, this letter/form, will be strong evidence to present to the judge assigned to hear your case.

The law (CFR 404.1527) states: : “Medical opinions are statements from acceptable medical sources that reflect judgments about the nature and severity of your impairment(s), including your symptoms, diagnosis and prognosis, what you can still do despite impairment(s), and your physical or mental restrictions. ”

ARNP, NP, etc. are NOT acceptable medical sources! MD or PHD, doctor or psychologist are acceptable medical sources. Other important factors controlling, according to the law (CFR 404.1527), are LENGTH of treatment relationship. Have you treated with this doctor or psychologist one time? Probably not a great medical opinion. Have you treated with this professional for over 1 year or 2 years? Great source!

Again, we cannot stress this point enough: your doctor has to be SPECIFIC with your limitations. If you have a bad back, your doctor needs to write about how much you could lift, can’t lift, how long you could be on your feet in a day, etc.

Marken Law Group, PS, has tailored forms for every diagnosis to be brought to your doctor to advocate for your disability. Doctors statements can be great evidence to submit to Social Security if they are specific and detailed with respect to diagnosis and functional limitations based upon objective medical evidence. At Marken Law Group, PS, we do NOT charge a fee unless you obtain the benefits you deserve!