I have a theory about doctors. My theory is that when you ask your doctor if he supports you disability application, the answer rests on one thing and one thing only: Your Doctor’s Personality. Not treating history, not medical records, not severity of limitations, not you, not your illness, not anything else.
The more time that passes, and the more people I meet, and the more stories I hear, the more I become convinced that this theory is true. I know it should not be true, and yet, somehow, it is!
I have seen time and time again when a new patient walks into a new office and the doctor supports their claim from day one. I have also painfully seen time and time again when a person in identical and severe condition requests help from their life-long doctor, and the doctor says, no.
If your doctor doesn’t give you the response you were hoping for, it may have nothing to do with you, or your disability. It may be how this doctor answers everyone.
Is your doctor just a jerk? Maybe…. But maybe not!
If you understand where your doctor is coming from, it may help your doctor to understand where you are coming from.
Step One: Find Your Doctor On This List
My doctor is focused – Some doctors are excellent doctors who are very focused on medicine and treatment. They do not wish to become involved in other part of their patients’ lives. These doctors may be very good at treating conditions, but they may not wish to spend time on your claim.
My doctor is scared – Some doctors are afraid to support disability claims because they are afraid of liability and think they can be sued. Others think they will have to go to court and testify in your case. This one is pretty easy to clear up: “No, doctor, you don’t have to go to court. If you agree that I have disabilities, then all you have to do is fill out a form for me.”
My doctor is disheartened – Some doctors started out supportive, but after seeing so many patients lose their claims, they became discouraged and stopped trying. They don’t know that they are now dealing with YOU – a patient who is learning all about disability and greatly improving your chances of winning. 🙂
My doctor has a policy – Some doctor’s offices have a policy of no help with disability paperwork. Policy Shmolicy. You can still win your doctor over. Don’t give up until you’ve tried.
My doctor is busy – Some doctors don’t like paperwork and they are afraid that supporting your claim will take too much time. Easy to solve: Set up a special appointment if you have a form to fill out. Don’t make them do it on their own time.
My doctor is biased – Some doctors have personal political views against social security and welfare. These doctors are also known as the As-Long-As-I’m-Rich-I-Don’t-Care-If-You’re-Homeless Doctors.
My doctor is an idiot – Some doctors think that no one with mental illness should be on disability because “working is good for mental health.” Sorry, but I really do think these doctors are idiots.
My doctor is misinformed about disability – Some doctors don’t understand the criteria for social security disability and they think you must be bedridden or wheelchair-bound to qualify, or that you must be permanently disabled. Easy as pie: Just educate your doctor, or show them the regs.
My doctor is misinformed about paperwork – Some doctors think supporting you will be a massive amount of work for them. This may not be the doctor’s fault. Some patients ask their doctor to do their entire application with them!! This one is also easy to clear up: “No, doctor, I promise not to be a lot of extra work. Could I set up one or two extra appointments to review my medical history and fill out one form?”
My doctor takes medicaid – Medicaid does not pay a lot, and Medicaid doctors see a lot of disability patients and get a lot of requests for help. They may be overwhelmed or burned out.
My doctor is racist, or sexist, or actually is a jerk – Some doctors won’t believe you if you say you are in pain. Studies show this is more likely to happen to women and minorities.
My doctor is confused – Some doctors really care about their patients and genuinely want to help, but don’t understand what you are asking for. They may be telling you that you can still work because they are trying to give you hope. This one is on you: “Doctor, I am severely ill and completely unable to work. I know that applying for disability is the right and best thing for me.”
My doctor is telling the truth – Some doctors are genuine and simply have a medical opinion that you are able to work full-time. They are entitled to their opinion. And you are entitled to find a different doctor!
Step Two: What Are You Going to Do About It?
Whatever the reason, the most important thing is that you found out. Be grateful that you have this information. Be grateful that your doctor was willing to be honest and tell you. Be grateful you were smart enough to ask. It is not too late to change things! Here’s a few things you can try: