People with disabilities usually see their doctors and other medical providers often for ongoing treatment. You may have seen the same doctor for many years, even prior to the onset of your medical problems, and the source knows you well. Sometimes you may not see the same provider each time but your treatment is based in the same facility. If you do not have frequent treatment for your medical conditions, there is a lack of beneficial information to support your claim for disability.
The proof of a disability begins with objective medical findings in the treating provider’s chart. The medical chart must include documented clinical signs, symptoms, findings, and medical opinions to support any conclusions. It is important for a patient to report all their symptoms each time he or she visits the treating provider.
Sometimes, a medical provider wants to assist their patient in getting disability benefits. Often, a letter is written outlining the patient’s medical conditions and medications. There may be a statement that the patient is disabled or unable to work. Although it is helpful to have your medical provider in agreement with your limitations, a physician’s statement that his or her patient is disabled or unable to work does not provide the necessary information to win a disability claim. Rather, a treating source can provide support to your claim if he or she provides an opinion that is supported by the medical evidence and is consistent with your condition.
Attorneys at Martone Law Firm are local and experienced in working with treating providers to get the information needed and presented in a way that is favorable to the claim. In addition to presenting impairment-specific forms to complete, and guidance on a narrative statement about a patient’s limitations, attorneys at Martone Law Firm have experience with preparing a treating source to testify at a hearing about his or her patient’s limitations.
Beginning March 2017, Social Security laws were changed to affect the way an opinion from a treating source is considered. Social Security no longer elevates the opinion of a treating source by giving it controlling weight and instead considers all medical opinions, whether by your treating source or a non-examining consultant using the same factors. The most important factors for providing a persuasive medical opinion are supportability and consistency. Social Security also considers the relationship with the claimant, including length of treatment, frequency of examinations, purpose of treatment, extent of the treatment, and examining relationship, as well as the source’s specialization in considering a medical opinion.
Social Security benefits provide minimal cash assistance but more importantly provide access to the health care system through Medicare and Medicaid. A disability claimant may be more interested in getting comprehensive medical coverage in order to continue with treatment than they are with the cash benefit. Continued medical care may provide the individual with the opportunity for recovery and the ability return the workforce in the future.
If you are a medical provider and would like to know more about how you can effectively advocate for your patients, you may contact our office to schedule a workshop to meet the needs of your business.
If you are a disability claimant, attorneys at Martone Law Firm work closely with you in determining whether you have a treating source who can provide a persuasive medical opinion and obtaining the necessary information to support your claim.
Contact Martone Law Firm today to see how our local experience working with treating providers can help you prove a disability claim.