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Talking to your doctor about Social Security Disability benefits

Are you waiting for your doctor to tell you that you’re disabled before you file for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits?

You’ll probably have a very long wait. Doctors rarely tell a patient they should file for disability benefits because they don’t really understand the system — and they don’t really know you’re disabled until you tell them.

How can that be? Your doctor knows all of your medical problems, so surely they understand how limited you are, right? Well, not exactly. Some people are able to work around a condition while others with the same condition can’t.

So how do you have this conversation? Here are some tips:

  1. Make an appointment just for this reason.

You don’t want to cram this conversation into the last two minutes of a regular office visit. Put together a list that will help you remember your talking points and make an appointment to ask for their support for your claim.

  1. Explain why you are making this decision.

Tell your doctor why you want to pursue a disability claim. No matter how long you’ve been your doctor’s patient, the odds are high they don’t understand exactly what you do at your job. Explain, in detail, how your disability affects your capacity to sit, stand, handle stress, concentrate and more.

  1. Ask your doctor’s opinion.

This is absolutely critical. If your doctor is supportive, great! You’ve accomplished your goal.

If your doctor isn’t supportive, you don’t want to find that out after you’ve filed your claim and been denied. (If your doctor isn’t supportive, you may need to consider finding a new doctor.)

  1. Get a commitment.

A simple letter from your doctor won’t usually suffice for Social Security. Let your doctor know that they will be receiving communication from the Social Security Administration (SSA) and may be asked to fill out a “residual functioning capacity” form on your behalf — and submit copies of your medical records upon request. Ask your doctor for a promise to fill out the paperwork when it comes.

We know that filing for Social Security Disability benefits is scary. If you’re struggling to get your claim approved, it helps to work with an attorney. Please continue to review our website to learn more.