While it is possible to receive disability, with an unsupportive doctor, it is very unlikely. For example, our client Julia had a case was ready to be scheduled. Her hearing would be scheduled any day and it was time to start the process of ordering her medical records. A phone call to Julia revealed that she had been seeing a few different doctors who seemed to be sympathetic to her disability. We requested medical records and within a couple of weeks received the documents.
At first, the medical records seemed fine, but with more investigation, we began to see problems with one of the doctor's records. He was, at best, unsupportive, and despite the support she was given in his office, his records indicated otherwise. As we reviewed Julia's other records, we began to realize that her disability was severe. Even though only one of the doctors Julia visited was unsupportive, that is sometimes all it takes to get denied.
We encounter Julia's problem often when dealing with clients and their doctors. So, what can you do if this happens to you? What can you do to help get good medical documentation that supports your disability? The answer is simple; start now. Developing an honest and open doctor patient-relationship with a doctor who is willing to document your problems and progress is vital to the success of a case.
First, take an assessment of your own behavior during your doctor visits. Are you completely honest with your doctor about your symptoms and limitations? Do you exaggerate them? Do you leave some symptoms or limitations out? Are you specific enough about your medical problems? Be specific, honest and sincere about your symptoms and limitations to help your doctor believe in you and in your disability case.
Next, try to get advice or prescriptions for home treatment or equipment, such as a cane or handicap sticker to help you work through your limitations. Many times a social security judge will look at what instructions or prescriptions a doctor is making to determine the severity of your medical condition. Provide copies of your diary or calendar that outline the days you experience serious symptoms or limitations. You may even want to look at your medical records yourself to get an idea of how supportive your doctor will be.
Lastly, if you suspect your doctor is unsupportive, consider getting a second opinion. Collect a medical source statement, or RFC form from a supportive doctor. This form is considered additional evidence and can be filled out by your doctor. Remember that there it is not possible to have TOO many records.
If you find yourself in Julia's position, an unsupportive doctor can be a major obstacle in getting the disability benefits you need. Consider these steps to help ensure your case is getting the medical documentation needed to prove your disability. Additionally, you may want to talk with your attorney to help you develop an accurate and persuasive medical history.