If you are applying for Social Security Disability benefits, the Social Security Administration (SSA) will require evidence regarding your medical condition to determine if you are eligible for benefits. The SSA will have a list of requested documents, but it is the applicant’s burden to provide all the pertinent medical records and documentation. While you are not required to request that your doctor complete the necessary paperwork, having detailed information from your treating physician will play a vital role in determining your eligibility. Below, Ken Kieklak, a Fayetteville, AR disability lawyer, discusses the importance of having your doctor fill out your disability paperwork.
Required Doctor’s Records in an Arkansas Disability Case
If you are applying for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplement Security Income (SSI) benefits in Arkansas, you must provide medical records from the doctor or doctors who have treated your medical condition. This is especially the case if you suffer from multiple disabilities and see more than one doctor regularly.
The SSA needs relevant records that pertain to your medical condition. Therefore, if you cannot work because of a back injury, providing records regarding a sprained hand is not helpful. You want to ensure you have the right doctor providing the documentation you need.
To qualify for the disability benefits available in Arkansas, your condition will have to impede your ability to work for at least 12 months. The medical evidence your treating physician provides will not only help establish your present condition but will also demonstrate the long-term negative impact of your disability. Your doctor can prove crucial and persuasive evidence through a “medical source statement.” This statement could come from your regular doctor, a physician who treated you in a hospital, or another healthcare professional with intimate knowledge of your medical condition. The SSA will put more weight on multiple statements from different medical professionals who agree regarding your diagnosis.
What Your Doctor Should Include When Completing Your Disability Paperwork
If you have a medical disability and are applying for SSDI or SSI, you must provide evidence that you were diagnosed with an impairment or condition that qualifies for disability benefits in Arkansas by a licensed physician or psychologist. Our Arkansas disability attorney will work closely with your treating doctors to ensure the SSA has the medical evidence required.
Explanation of Medical Records and Evidence
Having a medical condition that impairs your ability to work is the first part of the equation. The impairment must have a significant adverse impact on your ability to work. Often, your medical records will not demonstrate how your condition affects your life. Having your doctor submit a detailed medical source statement to the SSA allows your physician to explain the condition and the evidence presented.
The burden of proof remains with the claimant. This means that you want the SSA to have the complete picture. If your application does not have a comprehensive statement from your doctor regarding your limitations and symptoms, your claim could be denied. An x-ray, medical chart, or diagnostic test result rarely tells the whole story.
Blue Book List of Impairments
The SSA uses what is known as the Blue Book to determine if an applicant has an impairment that prevents them from earning a living. The Blue Book is a comprehensive listing of physical and mental impairments, including descriptions and notes that the SSA uses as a guide. Part of the application process includes determining whether an applicant’s condition meets the requirements listed in the Blue Book. For this reason, it is essential that a treating physician use these listings as a guide when pulling information together for their medical source statement. An experienced Arkansas children’s disability attorney or adult disability attorney can help you or your child’s doctor adhere to the requirements listed in the Blue Book.
Residual Functional Capacity
If your doctor only states that you are “disabled” or “unable to perform your job duties” on the medical source statement, it will carry little to no weight with the SSA. The application process is about proving that your medical condition impairs your ability to work. However, the final determination is made by the SSA. Therefore, a medical opinion without supporting evidence is not helpful.
The SSA will use the information provided by your doctor and the medical documents to determine your “residual functional capacity” (RFC). In simple terms, the RFC measures your ability to perform various work-related tasks on a daily basis. Therefore, the opinion your doctor offers should discuss, in detail, your ability or inability to perform typical tasks associated with employment including, walking, standing, lifting, or sitting for an extended period. Depending on your condition, your doctor might state that you cannot use your hands to grasp items, you are unable to bend, or you are unable to concentrate or follow directions. Any assertions your doctor makes need to be supported by medical evidence. For example, your doctor should not say “you cannot bend over” but state that the provided x-rays demonstrated a ruptured disc that prevents the patient from exercising the range of motion required for a specific task. Our knowledgeable Arkansas Social Security Disability attorney understands the application process but it is the evidence presented that will swing a case in your favor.
Call Our Arkansas Social Security Attorney for a Free Consultation
When you apply for Social Security Disability benefits in Arkansas, it is critical to provide the Social Security Administration with extensive evidence of your medical condition. Ken Kieklak, Attorney at Law, is committed to helping people through this challenging process. However, your case’s success depends on the medical evidence. The best source of this evidence is your treating doctor. If you are applying for disability benefits or if your disability claim was denied in Arkansas, contact our Arkansas Social Security Disability attorney today. To schedule a free appointment and review your options, call (479) 316-0438.
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