You’ve been suffering with ongoing health problems for a while, and you’ve gradually been experiencing a decline in your condition. It’s increasingly difficult for you to keep working and you feel like it’s time to file for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits – but your doctor hasn’t said anything about it.
Stop waiting. Doctors rarely (if ever) tell someone that they need to file for disability because that’s not their job. Their job is to diagnose and treat your condition – and most doctors really aren’t familiar with the requirements for disability benefits in the first place. Contrary to popular belief, doctors can’t automatically “put you on disability,” no matter what your condition or what letters they write.
You don’t need permission, but you do need support
While you don’t necessarily need your doctor’s permission to apply for SSDI, you do need their medical documentation and support. Medical evidence is the backbone of your SSDI application. This includes your medical records, diagnostic test results, your treatment history and statements from your healthcare providers that substantiate your disability and its impact on your ability to function.
Your treating physician’s records and opinions, along with any consultative examinations, ultimately will have a big impact on the SSA’s decision on your claim. So, even though you don’t need your doctor’s explicit consent to file your claim, it does help to have a conversation and ask for their support.
How do you navigate this situation? You make an appointment with your primary care physician or the specialist who treats your most disabling condition (or both) solely for the purpose of discussing your intention to file for benefits. Briefly explain how your condition affects your ability to perform your job duties and ask them for their support. That can mean simply making certain that their office responds promptly to any of SSA’s requests for information.
The SSDI application process can be lengthy and complex, but patience and persistence can eventually lead to an approval. Seeking thoughtful legal assistance can also increase your chances of receiving the benefits you deserve.