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What Weight Does My Own Physician’s Opinion Have In the SSD Disability Determination Process?

nurse comforting patient

Virtually everyone has their own personal primary care physician or internist who may have been treating you and all the members of your immediate family for years. This relationship leads to this physician knowing you better than any other healthcare professional. This in turn often makes this physician in the best position to know whether or not you are suffering from a disabling condition and what your physical abilities truly are in the event that you are suffering from a disabling medical condition. This naturally leads to many people assuming that if their treating physician finds the person to be disabled, then the Social Security Administration (SSA) will automatically grant them benefits if they apply for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits.

However, this is not necessarily the case. Under SSA rules relating to eligibility for SSD benefits, it is ultimately the SSA that determines whether an applicant for SSD benefits qualifies as having a disability. Treating physician opinions are only one piece of information that the SSA considers in making a decision as to an applicant’s application for benefits, and these are not determinative or binding one way or the other on the SSA on the question of whether someone meets SSD eligibility criteria in terms of having a disabling condition. This is one reason it is so important to have an experienced attorney like the attorneys of Kalfus & Nachman to place the opinion of your treating physician that you are disabled in the proper context for the SSA to improve your chances of qualifying for SSD benefits.

The Disability Determination Process and What Role Your Treating Physician Opinions Play in That Process

SSA ultimately makes the decision as to whether or not you meet the SSD definition of disabled or not. The SSD application form asks for every physician or healthcare professional you have seen for as far back as you can remember. SSA will then obtain your medical records from each of those treating healthcare professionals, but it also looks at other information than just your medical records in determining whether you are disabled or not for SSD purposes. SSA also will often have its own physicians perform assessments of you in order to determine whether they believe you meet the definition of disabled necessary to qualify for SSD benefits. However, SSA also will accept opinions from treating physicians as to whether or not you are disabled and what your functional capabilities are. Thus, the opinion of your own treating physician, while not dispositive of the question of whether or not you are disabled, is nonetheless an important source of information that can substantially assist your chances of being approved for SSD benefits.

Talk to The Experienced Social Security Disability Attorneys at Kalfus & Nachman

The experienced SSD attorneys at Kalfus & Nachman know how to place a treating physician opinion that one of our clients is disabled in the proper context for the SSA in order to increase the chances of a client’s application for SSD benefits being granted. If you live in the Norfolk, Hampton, Newport News, Portsmouth, Virginia Beach or Roanoke, Virginia, areas and need assistance determining if you qualify for the SSD benefits, what your expected monthly benefit would be if you qualify for benefits, filing your SSD application, or filing an appeal, please contact Kalfus & Nachman PC by phone at (855) 880-8163 or through the form on this page to schedule a free consultation.

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