Two weeks before my Social Security hearing, my attorney told me that I needed a doctor’s letter to make my case stronger. (He was right!).
Unfortunately, my main doc is a Naturopath, and I learned that Social Security doesn’t give their opinion a lot if weight. My attorney said the letter needed to be from an acceptable medical source.
Fortunately, my Naturopath was in a practice with several MDs, and I had been with the practice for three years, so I was able to make an appointment with an MD who was already familiar with my case and could access my medical records.
I have found that when I need something from a doc, it expedites things if I start by typing up a sample letter, and then make an appointment to see my doctor. I started with a sample letter from Disability Evaluation in a Nutshell and made a draft that included the information from my medical records. I sent what I wrote to the doctor so he could review it while writing his letter.
With less than two weeks until my hearing, I drove five hours to another state to see the MD. By the time I got to the office, the doctor had already reviewed everything and one of the office gals had typed up his letter. After my consultation with the MD, he signed it and – voila! – I had what I needed. I carried that precious letter all the way home and handed it in person to my sucky attorney.
My attorney was a lousy communicator. Before my hearing, I discovered there were a lot of missing medical records. I had to scramble to get files from each doctor – a lot of phone calls and physically running down the records myself.
My advice: Make sure you’re on top of things and don’t be a dummy and assume the attorney is going to get it done. It was a very stressful time, but ultimately I got it all done myself.
At the hearing, I had medical records from ten different docs over six years. But it turned out the most important evidence I had, the one thing that weighed the most heavily in the judge’s decision, was that single letter from my doctor. At the end of my hearing, the judge gave me a fully favorable decision right on the spot.
I got approved for Fibromyalgia, Depressive Disorder, Anxiety Disorder, Cardiac Arrhythmia, Bursitis, Orthostasis, and Chronic Fatigue. Although I was also diagnosed with Lyme Disease, this was not mentioned in my doctor’s letter.
In case you missed the most important point of this story: Daisy’s lawyer waited until TWO WEEKS before her hearing to tell her that her medical records weren’t strong enough and she was seeing the wrong kind of doctor. This is, sadly, extremely common. Please don’t expect that your lawyer will tell you what you need to know to win your case, learn it for yourself: How to Get Approved for Social Security Disability.