Tips for finding a doctor who can help you with documenting your disability:
Start with the Doc You Already Got
It is not necessary to go to a special doctor to get approved for disability. Any doctor can help you, if they support you and they want to help. Even a doctor who has not yet figured out the cause of all your symptoms or how to treat them, can still be a great help for a disability application. If you are not certain if your doctor supports your disability application, it’s helpful to find out as soon as possible. How to Tell What Your Doctor REALLY Thinks
Some doctors have an office policy that they won’t complete any disability paperwork. Before giving up, you may wish to check out these ideas for: How To Get Your Doctor to Fill Out Paperwork
Can’t Get to the Doc?
If you can’t get to the doctor because you lack money, insurance, transportation, or the ability to get out of bed: “I Cannot Get to the Doctor”
Recommended by Readers
Here’s a long list of doctors recommended by readers who got approved for disability. The majority of responses came from people who were diagnosed with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis or “Chronic Fatigue Syndrome”. We also received responses from people with Lyme, Fibromyalgia, Multiple Chemical Sensitivities, Mast Cell Activation, POTS, psychiatric conditions, and other ailments: What doctor was the most helpful for your disability approval?
Take a Trip
If you are able to travel, check out other states on the list above. Some people reported that the got their best medical documentation by traveling to another state for a one-time visit and assessment with a specialist, and then following-up with phone appointments.
If you have problems with memory, focus and concentration, you may find this type of testing helpful. Here’s some tips for: How to Find a Neuropsychologist (and how not to)
Try a Nurse Practitioner
Some of our readers report that Nurse Practitioners can be more willing to help with paperwork then MDs. You can also look for a Physicians Assistant. A few important things you need to know: If you first applied before March 2017, you should get your documents co-signed by an MD. If you first applied after March 2017, you do not need to worry about co-signs. This is because the acceptable medical source rules changed in March 2017.
Ask a Lawyer
Local lawyers sometimes know which doctors are able to take detailed and helpful chart notes and records and which do not. Many lawyers give an initial consultation for free.
Real life story: Pansy called 3 local disability lawyers and asked them for a free consultation. She asked each of them for recommendations for a doctor for testing plus an ongoing doctor for treatment. Two lawyers offered no information. The third one gave her a detailed run down of all the local doctors and what their strengths were. Pansy found a great doctor and a great lawyer! Links to Lawyers
Doctors for Specific Conditions
Some doctors have special knowledge or interest in certain conditions. Warning: These doctors can be helpful with treatment. They may or may not be helpful with disability applications. Doctors for ME or CFS, More doctors for ME, More doctors for ME, Doctors for Lyme, Doctors for Mold, Doctors for POTS
If you are trying to get diagnosed with ME or CFS, check out: How to Get Diagnosed with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Learn the Social Security Regs
Important: Social Security has a few special regulations about what type of degree or credentials they would like your doctor to have. Take a look at the acceptable medical sources rules.
Be Careful About Naturopaths
Social Security will not recognize Naturopaths as acceptable medical sources (unless your Naturopath is also another type of doctor). You can see a Naturopath for treatment purposes, and records from a Naturopathic doctor can be helpful and can help support your application, if they are similar to what your other doctors are writing. A Naturopath should not be the main doctor who documents your disability. Read Patty’s story: How Patty’s Lawyer Never Told Her What She Needed to Know
Avoid Asking the Office Staff
Try to avoid asking the front desk or other staff if a doctor will help you with disability forms. For mysterious reasons, staff people will almost always say “no” to this question. If possible, try to meet face-to-face with your doctor and talk to them directly.
The Most Helpful Doc May Not Be Who You Expect!
One of the biggest problems many of our readers run into is they think that a doctor who is good at treatment is the same thing as a doctor who is good at disability documentation. These are not even remotely the same thing.
🌷 You may find a doctor who is great at treatment, caring, sympathetic, smart, and knowledgable, but…. totally sucky at writing disability letters, awful at keeping accurate notes, and unwilling to fill out forms.
🌷 On the other hand, you may find a doctor who does not know how to help your condition and may not be able to figure out a diagnosis to explain all your symptoms, but….. good with paperwork, good at record keeping, and willing to help you document your condition.
If you have been to many doctors and no one knows how to help or treat you, please do not give up on disability. Chances are, some of the doctors you have already seen may be able to help with disability documentation.
Is My Doc Helping or Hurting?
🌸 Some people think they have a helpful doctor and then discover (too late) that they were wrong. You really really want to read your treatment notes, so that you can find out what your doctor really really thinks: What is My Doctor Writing About Me?
🌸 Tip: Don’t read your medical records online. Don’t read what you are handed at the front desk. Be like Cherry Blossom: Cherry Blossom Finds Secret Medical Records
🌸 If you find a supportive doc, that is great! But most docs don’t actually know how to help a disability application. Here’s some ideas for: How to Work with Your Doctor to Get Great Disability Documentation
🌷 This page is part of the free online guide: The Sleepy Girl Guide to Social Security Disability
🌷 Page Updated: 7/1/19
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