The Importance of Medical Evidence: How to Help Your Doctor Help You Win Disability Benefits
What do you need to win a social security disability case?
Your ability, or your attorney’s ability to make a strong favorable case is dependant upon your doctor. Social Security Disability cases are decided based on one thing: medical evidence.
What are some examples of Medical Evidence?
- Physician’s notes written during office visits
- Discharge Summaries
- Completed questionnaires from your doctor
- Objective tests: MRI, X-ray, CT Scan, Blood tests, etc.
The decision by a judge comes down to the medical evidence submitted and how that evidence supports your inability to work.
What is the administrative law judge looking for?
When the judge reviews your medical records he/she is looking to see if your disability limits you enough so that you are unable to (1) perform your past job and (2) be able to perform some other type of work. The judge is more concerned with the functional limitation that flows from your disability rather than the type of disability you suffer.
What is your functional limitation?
Your functional limitation results from your disability. Your functional limitation describes how your daily living is affected by your disability.
What are some examples of functional limitations?
- The type and strength of pain you experience.
- The decreased periods of time you are able to sit/stand/lift/carry/walk as compared to before your disability was present.
- The type of side effects you experience from taking your medications.
- Whether the medications help with your symptoms.
- Whether you have difficulties maintaining concentration.
- Whether you experience depression, anxiety, etc. and how often.
Typically, doctors do a very poor job documenting your functional limitations. But now that you know how important it is you can help your doctor. Make sure at your doctor visits you talk about your functional limitations. Give details, examples, the more that is in the record the better. You need to start this conversation do not wait for your doctor to ask you. Request your medical records and make sure what you are saying about your functional limitation is being properly documented. This is how to help your doctor help you win disability benefits.