How to Get a Co-Sign

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Art: Robin Mead

Social Security has very specific rules about who they would like to see signing your medical reports, forms and letters. If it is signed by the wrong person, sometimes it will be ignored!

Luckily, there is a solution. In some cases, it is possible to get your doctor to co-sign a report or letter. This magically turns the report into acceptable medical evidence. Magic!

IMPORTANT

🌷 If your doctor co-signs a report and scans this into your records, this does NOT mean that Social Security will ever see this report. Or that they will see the version that is co-signed.

🌷 Please see links on the bottom of this page for information on how to make sure Social Security sees the report with the co-sign.

WHY YOU MIGHT WANT A CO-SIGN

Co-signing reports is a technique used by the SOAR program, a federal government program with a very high success rate at assisting with disability applications. You might want a co-sign if:

Doctors Who Hates Paperwork. Some doctors have an office policy of “no disability paperwork.” It does not matter how disabled you are, they will not do any disability paperwork for anyone. Many of our readers have found that doctors who are not willing to fill out forms are still willing to review and consider co-signing a form completed by another practitioner.

Wrong Kind of Doctor. You might also want a co-sign if you have any kind of report, forms, records, medical test results, or letters created by any of these practitioners:

  • Social Workers
  • Naturopaths
  • Herbalists/Natural Practitioners
  • Therapists (not licensed psychologists)
  • Physical Therapists
  • Occupational Therapists
  • Nurses (sometimes acceptable)
  • Physician’s Assistants (sometimes acceptable)
  • Any other practitioner not considered an “Acceptable Medical Source

WHEN YOU MIGHT WHAT A CO-SIGN

You might want a co-sign if:

🌷 You have a counselor or therapist and you’ve asked them to write a disability letter or complete a mental function form for you.

🌷 Your doctor is a Naturopathic Doctor and you’ve asked them to write a disability letter or complete a function form for you.

🌷 You have a Social Worker, Counselor, or Caseworker and you have asked them to help prepare a Medical Summary Report.

🌷 You have a Social Worker, Counselor, or Caseworker and you have asked them to help fill out a Social Worker Disability Assessment.

🌷 Your doctor will not fill out disability paperwork, and you want to Get a Social Worker or Caseworker to help you.

🌷 You have ME or CFS and you’ve gotten a CPET test report from an exercise physiologist.

🌷 You’ve gotten a Functional Capacity Evaluation by a Physical Therapist or Occupational Therapist

🌷 You have any other kind of medical report or letter that was not written or signed by an “Acceptable Medical Source.”

OPTIONS FOR CO-SIGNS

🌷 You can ask your practitioner if they have a supervisor or team member who can review and co-sign any important records, tests, forms and letters. For example, many nurses have a supervising MDs. Many therapists have a supervising psychiatrists. Some naturopathic doctors work in a team with other medical doctors. According to the SSA regulations, they will accept a document that is signed or co-signed by an Acceptable Medical Source who “had a role in the care or evaluation of the individual alone or as part of an interdisciplinary team, (such as treating, examining, interpreting test results, reviewing treatment records, or overseeing treatment).”

🌷 You can bring the report to your doctor and ask if they will review and if they agree with the report, sign the front page or sign the end. It is helpful to include their full printed name, signature, credentials, address and date if possible. You may also wish to request a short sentence, such as “In my medical opinion, the information presented in this report is accurate and consistent with patient’s medical history, symptoms and limitations.”

🌷 Here is a sample of a letter used by case workers from the SOAR Program when requesting a co-sign from a doctor: Sample Letter to Physician Requesting Co-Sign

EXAMPLES

🌷 SOAR caseworkers often leave space at the end of their letters for a doctor to co-sign. Here’s an example:

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🌷 Here’s an example of a function form prepared by a disability attorney that leaves space at the bottom for a co-sign:

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GETTING A SOCIAL WORKER 

🌷 If you don’t have a Case Worker or Social Worker, and wish you did, check out: How to Get a Social Worker.

🌷 Most Social Workers do not have special training and knowledge in how to help get disability applications approved. They will fill out the basic forms and then (like you) feel discouraged when most people are denied. You can help them! Tools for a Social Worker to Help with Disability Applications

🌷 If you are homeless or at risk for homelessness, and have a mental illness diagnosis, see if there is a SOAR program in your area. This program is specially designed to help people with disability applications and they do amazing work.

SUBMITTING RECORDS

🌷 If your doctor co-signs a report and scans this into your records, this does NOT mean that Social Security will ever see this report.

🌷 They may get the report from the original practitioner who created it. They will get a version WITHOUT a co-sign.

🌷 They may have already requested your doctor’s records and will not ask for them again, so they never get the report at all.

🌷 The report may also be lost, misplaced, or put in the wrong person’s file. Tragically, all these things are common.

🌷 How to Submit Records So They Go to the Right Person in the Right Place

DOUBLE CHECK

🌷 Even if you have a lawyer, and even if you personally hand the signed report to your lawyer, double check yourself that it got into your Social Security file. People with lawyers still have important documents missing from their Social Security file. All the time.

🌷 How to Tell What is (and isn’t) in Your Social Security File

SUCCESS STORY

Belladonna had success with getting a co-sign: How Belladonna Used Ninja Skills to Get a Good Doctor’s Report

What Do You Think? 

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