Medical records are one of the most important components of a disability claim. Aside from providing these records to help prove the extent of your disability, a letter of support from your doctor can go a long way toward qualifying you for disability benefits during the appeals process.
The Social Security Administration (SSA) could get a better understanding of your medical condition, its impact on your daily life as well as your ability to maintain gainful employment. However, if the letter is not detailed enough, it could result in a claim denial.
A Phoenix Social Security Disability lawyer from our firm is prepared to help gather the information and documentation to help obtain the disability benefits you need. A free case review would provide you the opportunity to explain your situation, ask questions, and receive feedback from us about your options.
What Should Be Included in a Letter From Your Doctor
A letter from your doctor would need to provide detailed, specific information about your disability. It would not be enough for your doctor to simply state that you are disabled and unable to work, even if he or she knows your level of disability. Doing so could actually hinder your disability claim.
If done correctly, you doctor's letter should help support the information included in your medical records, but also summarize this information in a way that is easy to read and understand.
Detailed Explanation of Your Condition
A letter from your doctor should explain your overall medical condition and provide objective medical evidence of your condition. This could include:
- The alleged onset date when you became unable to work because of your condition and the date you were formally diagnosed with a disability
- The procedures involved in diagnosing your condition and ruling out other medical conditions with similar symptoms
- The symptoms you suffer from and how these symptoms impact your daily life and ability to work
- The treatments needed to help manage your condition and ability to function normally on a day-to-day basis, both in your personal and work life
- The prognosis of your disability, including if your condition will improve or get worse over time
Mental and Physical Limitations
When it comes to your medical condition, how it affects you physically and mentally, is what matters most to the SSA. A letter from your doctor should include specific details of your limitations, such as:
- Your ability to sit, stand, crouch, walk, balance, kneel and bend
- Amount of weight you are able to lift or carry
- Your ability to do routine or repetitive tasks
- Use of your arms and hands (reaching, grasping and lifting items)
Additionally, your doctor's letter should also provide detailed information regarding:
- Your range of motion
- Any cognitive problems (difficultly concentrating, learning or retaining information)
- Your reflexes
- Any issues with the senses (sight, hearing, touch, etc.)
Can I Submit More Than One Doctor's Letter?
The short answer is yes. There is no limit to the amount of doctor's letters you can send to the SSA. You could have each of your treating doctors submit a letter to support your disability claim.
However, with that being said, it is important that a letter of support is submitted by a treating doctor who has extensive experience treating and managing your condition. It should be a primary care doctor or specialist that you visit regularly, not just once or twice.
The SSA will take into consideration whether you and your treating doctor have had a long-standing relationship when reviewing a letter of support. The more doctor visits and appointments, the more the SSA will give weight to medical opinions from your treating doctor.
The Importance of Working With Your Doctor
Some doctors may be resistant to putting together a letter of support for a disability claim. This is mostly because of time restraints. However, there are certain forms available that could help with this process.
For instance, a residual functional capacity (RFC) form could help your doctor evaluate your overall medical condition as it relates to performing basic work functions. This includes the physical and mental tasks that you are unable to do because of your impairment.
The SSA may provide an RFC Report form to your doctor to obtain the information needed to make a disability determination. You could also give your doctor a copy of the RFC report form in order for him or her to get a better understanding of what to include in a letter of support.
Let Us Fight for the Benefits You Need
At Dayes Law Firm, we are here to help guide you through the appeals process and fight for the disability benefits you need. We know how important letters of support from your treating doctor, as well as supportive letters from family members and friends, can be to a disability claim.
Our initial consultations are complimentary and confidential without risk or obligation to hire our firm.
Contact our office today to learn more. Ph: 1-800-503-2000.