You can get a second opinion if your doctor denies you for Social Security disability. While your doctor does not decide whether you get approved or denied for Social Security, their cooperation can be vital to making a successful claim.
This is because there are two ways to get approved for Social Security disability. The first, meeting the criteria of a Blue Book listing for an approved condition, does not require substantial help from your doctor beyond releasing your medical records. The second, however, submitting a Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) assessment, requires your doctor to take a prominent role. If your doctor does not want to help you, you can get a second opinion, but you need to be careful with how you go about doing this.
Why Would My Doctor Object to Helping Me Win Social Security Disability?
If your doctor has been treating you for a while and has seen the impacts your condition has had on your daily life, he or she should have no problem completing an RFC assessment on your behalf, and in fact should be happy to help. But some doctors object to helping their patients win Social Security disability. There are several reasons why a doctor might do this.
Your Doctor Does Not Believe You Are Fully Disabled
This is probably the number one reason why doctors decline to help their patients pursue disability benefits. Whether justly or unjustly, the doctor disagrees with the patient’s belief that the patient is unable to work and sustain gainful employment. The doctor does not want to sign his or her name to something that could result in a person receiving government benefits that—in the doctor’s opinion, at least—the person does not deserve.
Your Doctor Is Worried About Getting Caught Up in Litigation
If there is one thing doctors hate these days, it is the prospect of dealing with more red tape than what is already required just to do their jobs. A doctor who is not familiar with the RFC process might balk the second he or she learns it is part of a government program. A doctor who is familiar with the disability application process might fear that your case will end up before a judge and that the doctor will be forced to testify.
Your Doctor Is Philosophically Opposed to Social Security Disability
Some doctors have ideological qualms with the disability system, believing it to be welfare bestowed on recipients, many of whom, in the doctor’s opinion, should be working. Although this opinion is mostly wrong—the primary Social Security disability program is not welfare but an insurance program funded by its recipients’ own tax contributions—entrenched ideological beliefs can be difficult to overcome, let alone change.
How Can I Convince My Doctor to Help?
Convincing your doctor to help you depends on why he or she is hesitant to offer assistance. If your doctor does not believe you are fully disabled, you will probably find it difficult to change their mind, though documentation from your employer detailing the difficulties you face at work might help.
Doctors philosophically opposed to disability are equally difficult to convince. If you are applying for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), which is based on work history, rather than Supplemental Security Income (SSI), which is a welfare program based on low income, your doctor might be more amenable, especially if you explain to him or her that you have effectively paid for the benefits you stand to receive.
If your doctor is worried about litigation, your disability attorneys can help assuage their concerns by explaining that once they complete your RFC assessment, they no longer must participate in the process.
How Can I Get a Second Opinion Without Weakening My Disability Claim?
If you cannot convince your doctor to help, you can get a second opinion if your doctor denies you for Social Security disability. But switching doctors during a disability claim is fraught with risk, as it can appear to the SSA that you are “shopping” for one who is supportive. As long as you switch only one time, and you can give a valid reason for doing so, you should not have too much to worry about.
It is therefore critical to research the next doctor to make sure they have no philosophical opposition to Social Security and no history of being uncooperative. Your disability attorney can help you do this.
Call 866-628-8179 Today to Schedule a Free Case Evaluation With a Social Security Disability Attorney
The attorneys at the Law Offices of Ogle, Elrod & Baril, PLLC, can help you with any challenges you face when applying for Social Security disability. We have a long track record of helping our clients win the benefits they deserve. To schedule a free case evaluation, call our office at 866-628-8179.