How To Ask for the Right Kind of Help in the Right Kind of Way

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Getting ready to talk to your doc about your disability ap? Or getting ready to try again because the first time didn’t go so hot? Right about now, you may be asking yourself:

Why do I have to talk to my doctor? Won’t my lawyer talk to my doctor for me?

It is unlikely that your lawyer will ever speak with your doctor. In fact, some lawyers don’t even read your medical files until an hour before your hearing! If you can talk to your doctor yourself, you are really helping your claim.

Why do I have to ask my doctor to support my application? Isn’t this his job?

It is not your doctor’s job to help you with your disability claim. When you ask your doctor for support, remember that you are asking him for a favor. He does not have to spend extra time with you on this. If your doctor is willing to help you in any way, try to show your kindness and appreciation. If your doctor is not willing to help you, try to let it go… there is someone else out there who will believe in you. It is better for your claim if you stay on good terms with your doctors.

What should I bring with me when I talk to my doctor? 

You do not need to bring anything, but if you are able, a simple one-page list of your symptoms and limitations would be appropriate and very helpful.

If another doctor has already completed a good function form or written a good medical summary letter for you, that can be a GREAT thing to bring. I have done this and I have found that once your doctor sees an official overview of your medical history and sees the way another doctor has described your severe impairment, this can make a huge difference in helping them understand your condition.

It is also helpful to check ahead of time with record keeper on your doctor’s office staff and make sure your file at this doctor’s office has all of your records from all your other doctors and any important tests, lab results, or hospital records.

Which docs do I have to talk to?

All of them. Social Security will read ALL of their records, so you want to know what ALL of them think Social Security has a lot of opinions on what kind of doctor you should see. It is important that the doctor who supports you the most and fills out your disability paperwork is The Right Kind of Doctor.

When do I tell a new doctor?

There are different schools of thought on this. Some people believe it is better to tell a new doctor right away, so you do not waste your time continuing to see a doctor who is not willing to support people who are applying for disability. Other people believe it is better to wait until your third or fourth visit, so that you can build a relationship with the doctor first, and the doctor will be more willing to help you. With mental health, some doctors will want to meet with you for a period of time first before they can draw a conclusion about your condition

What if my doctor already told me I can work or my condition is not severe?

That depends. What have you been saying to your doctor? In my experience, nine times out of ten, this happens because you have not being clear enough with your doctor. You are not telling them all your struggles and limitations. You are not explaining to them how bad your symptoms are. You are not letting them know you are applying for disability and need their support. And you may be talking about going back to work yourself.

If you are not sure why your doctor is talking about working, try asking yourself this question: How Good are My Doctor Visits? (Quiz)

Try again. Be totally clear and 100% upfront and unwavering. If you are truly sick and unable to work and your doctor still does not believe you and does not understand your condition, that is good information! Be happy that you found out. It is great to know now, so you can go out and get yourself a better doctor!

Can I ask my doctor to review or fill out my disability application with me?

No! If you are unable to fill out the forms on your own, you can seek help from a lawyer, a social worker, a case worker, or a friend. I would not ask this from your doctor. It is asking for too much, and it is asking for the wrong thing.

What paperwork should I ask for help with?

Contrary to popular belief, Social Security is not going to ask your doctor to fill out any paperwork. They are just going to (maybe) collect your medical records. If you want more than this, you are going to have to ask for it.

If your doctor supports your decision to apply and agrees to let you have another appointment about this, you may wish to ask your doctor to fill out a function form for you or review the Social Security listing for your condition with you.

What else do I need to know before I tell my doctor about disability application?

Here is an excellent article from attorney Scott Davis. I would recommend reading this before going to see your doctor.

All Set? 

Time to have The Big Talk

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