How to Have “The Talk”

Artwork: Robin Mead

Talking to your doctor about your disability application is one of the best things you can do to help your case.

If your doctor does not support your disability application and does not believe that you should definitely apply for disability, this can really hurt your case.

Sadly, many people do not discover what their doctor thinks until it is too late. Happily, you are going to go talk to your doctor right now while there is still time and you still have options!

Here’s a few great ways to talk to your doc:

๐Ÿ„ย  Get Ready

You do not need to do anything special to get ready, but if you are the type of person who likes to learn more and be prepared, head on over here and read more about getting ready to talk to your doc.

๐Ÿ„ Decide if You are Disabled

This step sounds ridiculous, but truth be told, this is probably the hardest and most important step. And this is the one step I see the most people skip at the beginning. When you apply for disability you are going to have to answer a lot of questions and your answers will be very important.ย If you believe you are disabled your answers will be different than if you believe you are not disabled. Only you know what your body is capable of. Only you know if you truly tried to work as hard as you could, and if you really are not able to do it. At the end of the day, this is your decision to make.

๐Ÿ„ Try to Make Peace with Your Decision

Doctor’s are only human. If you show up to your doctor and make statements that are confusing and you contradict yourself, your doctor may feel unsure and confused about how to advise you. If you give your doctor mixed messages, your doctor may give you mixed messages. Or, even worse, they may write inconsistent things in your records.

๐Ÿ„ Let Your Doctor Know What You Want

Most doctors are nice people. They donโ€™t want to say to someone โ€œYouโ€™re totally disabled! And you will never work again!!โ€ Because then their patients will cry.

You can make things easier for your doc here. Tell you doctor what is true for you. If you are unable to work, tell your doctor. If you are severely disabled, tell your doctor. If you are definitely applying for disability and you have already made this decision, tell your doctor. If you will feel happy if your doctor supports you, tell your doctor. Your doctor may feel good about supporting you if she understands what you are asking for.

๐Ÿ„ Be brave!

Many people feel shy or nervous about being upfront with their doctor about their condition and their disability application.

Even if it is difficult for you, I hope you find a way to be brave and try something outside of your comfort zone. Just think about how much better your life will be once you have what you need to take care of yourself.

๐Ÿ„ It Does not Have to be Long

You don’t need to make a giant speech. Here is what Judy said to her doctor:

“I went to my doctor and said: I am applying for disability because my condition is very severe and I am completely unable to work. I am having severe, debilitating weakness, fatigue and pain. I cannot work at all, and I cannot stand, sit or walk for extended periods. I would love to know your medical opinion. Do you agree that I am unable to work and applying for disability is a good choice for me?

“My doctor said, yes, she agreed that I was disabled and could not work.ย I thanked her for her support and let her know how much I appreciated that she understood my condition. I told her I did not want to create a lot of extra paperwork and asked if it was OK to set up one extra appointment to fill out a special form. She agreed to do this and I thanked her for helping me.”

๐Ÿ„ Tell Your Doctor Your Limitations

Whenever you talk about your condition, it isย  big help if you can talk about functioning. Are you having any problems with sitting, standing, walking, moving, dressing, bathing or eating? Does your illness or medications give you difficulties with thinking, remembering or concentrating? Your doc is not going to know or remember all your limitations unless you tell them.

๐Ÿ„ Explain Why You Are Unable to Work

It’s important to tell your doctor your symptoms and how they are affecting you and keeping you from working. Keep in mind, your doctor’s job is to evaluate your medical condition. You cannot get on Social Security because you hate your boss or can’t find childcare or don’t have transportation. Talk about your symptoms. Explain why you areย medicallyย unable to work.

๐Ÿ„ If You Are Working Now

If you are working part time, you can still apply for disability. It will be more difficult to get approved, but it is still possible. You can tell your doctor the Social Security definition of disability: Unable to maintain work earning more than $1,170 per month. Talk with your doctor about how you meet this definition.

๐Ÿ„ Ask Your Doctorโ€™s Opinion

Your doctor may just tell you their opinion. If they don’t, you can always try asking. “Doctor, in your medical opinion, do you think I can work?” or โ€œDo you think I can work full time?โ€ “Doctor, do you agree with my decision to apply for disability?” Believe me when I tell you, you really want to know what your doctor thinks about these things.

๐Ÿ„ Reassure Your Doctor

Many doctors get freaked out by disability applications, because they think they will have to go to court or fill out a lot of paperwork. If your doc seems hesitant, you can put their mind at ease. Let them know that you will not bring them a lot of paperwork or expect their help forever. You would just like to set up a few extra appointments over the next year or so while you are applying and maybe have one form or one letter you’d like help with.

๐Ÿ„ Thank You, Doctor

If your doctor agrees you should apply for disability and supports your application, be grateful. Remember, it is not your doctorโ€™s job to fill out paperwork or support your application. He does not have to do this. Going forward, try to keep your requests simple and limited,ย “Thank you, Doctor! I am so lucky to have a doctor like you. I promise not to be a lot of extra work or paperwork.โ€

If your doctor does not support your application, it is very good they told you. Be grateful you found this out now while there is still time to make a difference.

๐Ÿ„ All Done?

How did it go? Did your doctor support your application a little, a lot or not at all? No matter what happened, You have some options for next steps.

Updated April 2017ย ๐Ÿ„


3 thoughts on “How to Have “The Talk””

  1. I have a hearing this week but after having a PA for 2 years she told me she wasnt in my shoes and she thinks we should all try our hardest. The same office refused an MRI on my neck after 14yrs neck pain and 4yrs post a serious fall resulting in a TBI and lower back injury also yet they refused to check my neck as if this wasnt all real. I fired them the next week. I will be reporting them and every other doctor in the last 8 years that neglected proper care because I look ok and my illnesses are invisible. It wasn’t easy to ask these questions but that one office alone was putting in inccorect dx, offering surgery wo an MRI, and not fully treating my issues. We deserve better than half a$$ care! Thank you for this article!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lisa,

      I am very glad you are standing up for yourself. You are not alone, many people go through this with their docs.

      I hope your hearing goes great!! ๐Ÿ’™ ๐Ÿ’œ ๐Ÿ’– Lily


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