Deciding to file for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits isn’t easy — but it may feel like a piece of cake compared to broaching the subject with your doctor.
Social Security carefully considers all your medical evidence when they evaluate your claim. They will definitely request your medical records from your doctor — and they may also want your doctor to fill out forms regarding your functional limitations. Having your doctor’s support for your claim really is essential when you file, if possible.
But many patients are reluctant to talk about disability benefits to their doctors. Some wait to file, hoping that their doctor will bring up the subject first (which they won’t). Others just file without ever discussing the issue with their doctors in advance (which isn’t a good idea).
Here are some tips that can help you manage this conversation:
- Wait until your doctor gets to know you. This may be easy if you’ve been seeing your doctor for years. If you have a new physician or have just started seeing a specialist, however, you want to give your relationship some time. That way, your doctor has a chance to really assess your condition — and you.
- Try everything the doctor asks you to try. Doctors are naturally reluctant to support a disability claim if they don’t think the patient has given treatment a fair chance. While you don’t have to try anything particularly invasive or something that’s against your beliefs, you should take pains to make sure that your doctor knows that you’d prefer to get better — not end up on SSD.
- Bluntly ask for your doctor’s support. Make an appointment and let your doctor know that you can’t keep working. Briefly, but clearly, explain why. Ask for your doctor to make sure that they respond to requests for records and other information in a timely manner.
The Social Security Disability application process is complicated — and it isn’t easy to win an approval. Consider obtaining some experienced assistance early on.