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In the Social Security Administration’s(SSA) process of determining disability, certain factors will be factored into the decision. One of the biggest factors is medical records and information about the claimant given to SSA from the claimant’s own treating physician. If your doctor is supportive of your case for disability, it can certainly improve the chances of a favorable outcome in your bid for social security disability (SSD) or SSI disability benefits. However, contrary to certain misperceptions, your personal physician does not decide if you get disability benefits. And even if he or she encourages you to file a claim with social security, you should not assume that you will be approved based simply on this.

At the appeals level(after a claimant has been denied in the initial application), disability judges tend to pay considerably more attention to a treating physician’s opinions regarding your impairment and how it affects your ability to function, provided that this opinion is not out-of-line with the information contained in the physician’s treatment notes. Disability examiners, on the other hand, often do not place significant value on the opinions provided by your physician, and so even a strongly supportive statement from your doctor (that is detailed with regard to remaining functionality) may not have much influence on a decision from DDS regarding your claim.

However, a detailed statement from your physician regarding your residual functional capacity (ideally captured on a form that that attempts to elicit the physician’s opinions regarding the patient’s functional abilities and limitations) can greatly increase your chances of approval at a disability hearing. Traditionally, our firm attempts to obtain such documents in support of our client’s claim at the appeals level.

Therefore, it’s fair to say that, although your doctor does not decide if you get disability, a statement from him could be the deciding factor in your favor at this level of appeal in the social security disability and SSI system. For further information, read:

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