Increase your chance of getting Social Security disability benefits with a disability doctor letter. Learn how to get a disability letter from your doctor with these nine actionable steps.
To qualify for disability benefits, you must submit sufficient medical records to the Social Security Administration (SSA).
While it’s essential to include formal medical records, you shouldn’t overlook the importance of a detailed medical statement from your primary doctor.
Providing a disability doctor letter will increase your chances of being awarded Social Security Disability benefits.
A doctor’s letter helps support your case by detailing your disability in depth to the Social Security Administration.
This guide provides advice and actionable steps to get support from your doctor and win your disability case.
What Is a Doctor Disability Letter?
A doctor disability letter is a medical source statement from your primary care doctor.
A disability letter from your treating doctor helps support your claim for Social Security benefits. It will accurately represent your medical condition, its effects on your daily life, and your ability to maintain gainful employment.
Your doctor should include specific details of your disability supported by credible evidence consistent with your claim.
Why Do You Need a Doctor Disability Letter?
You need a doctor disability letter because it provides additional evidence to support your disability claim.
A disability letter will provide the Social Security Administration with your doctor’s perspective on your condition. It will also include documented medical evidence. This helps SSA’s disability examiner know how your condition interferes with your ability to work.
It’s also important to have a physician with an extended history of treating your condition write the medical statement. This gives your disability claim more credibility.
9 Ways to Ask Your Doctor for a Disability Letter
A well-written doctor’s letter may be the deciding factor in your disability case. For this reason, you and your doctor must be on the same page about your disability.
However, not all doctor’s letters are effective. For example, a disability letter will not help your claim if:
- The information is vague and provides a general statement about your disability. Doctor letters lacking detail will not help your claim.
- Your doctor is unlikely to confirm the diagnosis of your disability.
- You do not provide medical evidence to your doctor about your disability.
- You do not follow your medical treatment plan.
- You are not honest or accurate with your doctor.
- Your disability application claims are inconsistent with the doctor’s statements.
Here are nine ways to gain support and get a disability letter from your doctor:
1. Make a Doctor’s Appointment Before You Apply for Disability
Before you apply for disability, schedule an appointment with your primary doctor. Your doctor must evaluate your condition thoroughly before writing a medical source statement.
If you wait until after you apply for SSDI benefits, SSA may make a disability decision before you get that appointment.
It’s also vital to keep your medical team aware of your condition and plans to apply for disability benefits. If they do not support your claim, then you will not get a disability letter.
2. Write Down Details About Your Condition and Limitations
When you do get an appointment, you must be prepared. Doctors are busy and usually in a hurry.
Before your appointment, write down details about your disability and your limitations.
Also, don’t assume your doctor will know all your limitations. It’s crucial to provide detailed information. For example, write down:
- The medical problems your experiencing.
- Ways your condition limits your ability to function or perform work.
- Limitations in lifting, carrying, walking, standing, or sitting.
- Limitations due to environmental factors like dust, heat, or cold.
- Mental disorders like the ability to remember, follow instructions, or get along with others.
- Limiting effects of medications like lethargy, sleepiness, or headaches.
For instance, write down you cannot climb stairs due to a disability for 5 out of 7 days. Your doctor can use this information to help support your disability claim.
3. Discuss Your Plans to File for Disability Benefits
Always inform your doctor or other medical providers of your plan to file for disability benefits. This way, they can best assist you in preparing your medical documentation.
Without their approval or support, you will likely get denied disability benefits.
4. Explain How Your Condition Affects Your Daily Activities and Ability to Work
During your doctor’s appointment, provide specific details about how your condition impacts daily activity and ability to work.
For example, inform your doctor if you cannot do laundry due to back pain. Or you cannot stand longer than 30 minutes at work because of knee pain.
The more detail your doctor provides, the more their opinion will matter during SSA’s evaluation process.
5. Ask Your Doctor to Review the SSA Blue Book
Review the SSA Blue Book listing for the condition you are experiencing with your doctor.
Explain you suffer from a condition that meets the requirements for a Blue Book listing.
The Blue Book listing will also help your doctor understand the extent of your disability. This way, your doctor can write a more effective disability letter.
6. Answer Your Doctor’s Questions Honestly
Always answer your doctor’s questions honestly and accurately. Also, avoid exaggeration. This makes your disability claim more credible.
It’s essential to provide complete, detailed, and truthful information. Misleading your doctor can result in losing your doctor’s support and your disability case.
It’s also vital your doctor’s letter matches the claims in your disability application. Inconsistent details can result in a denial of benefits.
7. Ask if Your Doctor Supports Your Claim for Social Security Disability
Ask your doctor or medical team if they support your decision to apply for disability benefits. You will need their support and approval.
If you cannot convince your doctor of a debilitating condition, you will unlikely persuade the SSA. That means you will likely get denied disability benefits.
If your doctor seems resistant to supporting your disability claim, request a Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) form.
The RFC form can help your doctor evaluate your ability to perform everyday tasks and job duties. This includes physical and mental tasks you cannot do because of an impairment.
Also Read: How SSA Grid Rules Can Help Win Your Case
8. Ask Your Doctor for a Medical Source Statement
Once you gain your doctor’s support, ask them to complete a Medical Source Statement (MSS).
A Medical Source Statement is a form completed by your doctor. It summarizes your physical and mental limitations caused by a medical condition. It also provides the SAA with your doctor’s opinion on the severity of your condition and limitations.
Your doctor can get the Medical Source Statement form from the SSA to fill out accordingly. The doctor then signs the form and sends it back.
9. Ask Your Doctor to Provide Detailed Medical Evidence
In addition to a disability letter or Medical Source Statement, ask your doctor to include objective evidence to support their opinion.
Helping the SSA examiners better understand your condition and limitations improves the chances of winning your case. Don’t rely on an opinion without supporting evidence about your disability and its effect on your daily life.
What Should Your Doctor Disability Letter Include?
A disability letter from your doctor should explain your medical condition and provide supporting medical evidence. This could include:
- A detailed explanation of your condition and limitations.
- Medical evidence of your condition and limitations.
- Details on how your condition limits daily activities and ability to maintain gainful employment.
- Your doctor’s medical opinion on your condition and limitations.
- An explanation of how the medical evidence supports the doctor’s opinion on your limitations.
Evans Disability Will Help Get the Benefits You Need. Call Us!
If you have questions about disability benefits, contact the experienced and knowledgeable attorneys at Evans Disability.
Avoid making common mistakes. Our disability attorneys will ensure you are prepared with everything needed to win your case.
Our legal team understands the complex medical and legal issues involved in disability claims. We also have a proven history of helping our clients get the benefits they deserve. Call (855) 503-0101
Doctor Disability Letter FAQ
Common questions about getting a doctor’s disability letter.
Is a Disability Letter From a Doctor Required?
The Social Security Administration does not require a disability letter from your doctor.
However, it helps provide credibility to your disability claim. It also increases your chances of getting approved for disability benefits.
Without a doctor’s support, you may not have enough medical evidence to meet the medical requirements for disability benefits.
When Do I Need a Disability Letter From My Doctor?
You need a doctor disability letter before applying for disability benefits.
Ensure you are prepared before your disability case. You will likely get denied benefits if you do not have supporting evidence of a disability.
What Is the SSA Disability Blue Book?
The Disability Blue Book is a list of impairments the Social Security Administration considers to qualify people for disability benefits.
The SSA Disability Blue Book also lays out the medical criteria to determine if a person can receive disability benefits.
At step three of the five-part disability evaluation process, the SSA will review your medical records. They will decide if your impairment meets the criteria listed in the Disability Blue Book.