Does a Doctors Note Help a SSI SSDI Application?

Is a Doctors note necessary for Social Security Disability Applications?

Ask a Disability Attorney
Q: Do I need a note from a Doctor for my disability claim?

Engineer,Age 52,

A: When people apply for disability they make the common mistake of thinking that their diagnosis alone will be enough to get them approved for benefits. In reality, your diagnosis rarely plays a significant role in your case. This doesn’t mean that you don’t have to have some medically diagnosed condition because you do, however, your diagnosis doesn’t matter as much as you may think. For example, one potential client who had a child who was diagnosed with sickle cell anemia at birth was confident her child had a slam dunk case. While that is certainly a serious diagnosis, it doesn’t always manifest itself right away. The mere diagnosis wasn’t enough to have a good disability case. Social Security looks at both your diagnosis and, more importantly, the limitations that result from your diagnosis.

In Social Security, the legal questions aren’t whether you have a disability; we know you do. The question is whether you have a disability to the point that you can’t work. Your diagnosis doesn’t tell Social Security anything about your limitations or inability to work; this is because medical conditions often affect people differently. Limitations are what tell Social Security what jobs you can or can’t do. Social Security speaks the language of limitations. Many people applying for disability ask if they should get a note from their doctor saying that they’re physically or mentally challenged or have such and such condition…it won’t do you any good. A note from your doctor stating that you’re disabled or have diagnosis with some medical condition doesn’t say anything about your limitations.

In EVERY disability case, the Social Security Administration has to come to a conclusion as to what your limitations are. When you meet with your doctor, ask them to write a note about your limitations. Limitations include things like: how long can you stand for? How far can you walk? How long can you sit at one time? How much weight can you lift? Having your doctor answer questions like these will do more for your case than a note saying you’re disabled.

One benefit of working with a disability attorney is that a good attorney has developed forms for your doctor to fill out. These forms ask the doctor to state your limitations in a clear and succinct way that Social Security can understand. Some of these forms, usually called “Residual Functional Capacity Assessments” can be found by searching online. If you have questions about these forms, don’t hesitate to contact our office. An experienced disability attorney will understand what Social Security looks for in a claim. How to speak and put your disabilities the language of Social Security.

Social Security is much more concerned about how your disabilities prevent you from working. When your doctor writes a letter stating you are disabled they are only reinforcing what Social Security can see in your medical records. Put your disabilities in the language of Social Security. Why can’t you work? What are your limitations? Speaking the language of Social Security Disability is important in every claim.

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