If your doctor does not support your disability claim… don’t panic. And don’t be discouraged. This happens to plenty of people. Just keep believing in yourself and consider finding a doctor who is more supportive and knowledgeable.
Only you know your body, what you are capable of, and if you are truly able to work or not. Just because one doctor says you can work, does not make it true. Doctors are not gods. They can be wrong. Many people have to visit several doctors before they find one who can properly diagnosis them, or who fully understands their condition. Don’t give up hope.
Are You My Doctor?
The Stonewalling Doctor: Some doctors simply do not believe that any patient should on disability. They don’t believe in the disability system, they won’t support anyone, and that is that. If you get a doctor like this, you really have no choice. The longer you stay with them, the worse your records are going to get.
The Cryptic Doctor: Other doctors are vague or cryptic. They may not make it clear if they believe you are disabled and support your application. From what I have seen, this is a very bad sign. These kind of doctors do not want to get involved and they do not take the right kind of notes or keep the right kind of records to help a patient get approved.
The Anti-Paperwork Doctor: Some doctors may say that they believe you are disabled but they have a policy that they won’t fill out any disability paperwork. Or they may (wrongly) tell you that you don’t need any special paperwork to get approved. These doctors are not always a lost cause. Sometimes you can turn things around.
The Disbelieving Doctor: Some doctors don’t think Chronic Fatigue Syndrome exists. Some doctors don’t believe patients when a patient says they are in pain. This has nothing to do with you or your condition. This is just what this doctor believes.
How to Know What You Need to Know
If you are not certain that your doctor completely and totally supports your application, the first step is to talk to your new doctor about your disability application.
The next step is to read your all your medical records plus all your treatment notes to see what is really going on. Believe me, you want to know NOW. You do not want to find out a year from now when it is too late to do anything.
When to Keep Trying
Before switching doctor, it is a good idea to make sure you have explored all your options with the doc you have. In particular, Medicaid doctors can be a harder to find. If Medicaid is your only insurance, you may want to make an extra effort to try to turn things around with your current doc, before giving up.
When to Walk Away
Sometimes its best to know when to walk away. If your doctor says he does not believe you have a severe impairment or thinks you should go back to work, this is a huge red flag. It may be nearly impossible to get approved with a doctor who says this. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but it is better for you to know now, then to be miserable three years from now.
Don’t give up hope. Remember, some doctors do not support any patients to apply for disability. It may have nothing to do with you and how sick you are. Only you know your body. If you know that you are truly too sick to work, you need a doctor who believes in you and understands your condition.
Finding a New Doc
I met one woman who found a new doctor this way. She met with a few disability lawyers in her area. Many lawyers offer free initial consultations. She asked the lawyers if they could recommend a doctor who may be willing to spend the extra time to document her disability case. Some lawyers would not help her, but one lawyer sat down and told her about several different local doctors and what their strengths were (Turned out to also be a great way to find a good lawyer).
Be careful about “doctor shopping” just to find one who will say what you want. Many people do switch doctors for many reasons, and this is fine. But if you are constantly going from one doctor to the next for no reason, Social Security may find this suspicious.
I can’t stress this next point enough. You want your new doctor to be the right kind of doctor. If they are not, it won’t be an upgrade, it will be a downgrade!
If you decide to switch doctors, then it is great if you can visit your new doctor regularly so you can build up consistency in your records. I would consider visiting the new doctor at least once a month at the beginning, and then every other month while my application was being considered. Also, be sure to talk to your new doctor about your disability application and get their support.
Thank you for reading. Please let me know if you have any ideas to change, improve or add to this post. If you have any questions, please be in touch. If you try anything on this list, please let me know how it goes. Your story can help others.