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COVID-19 Disability Guide: How to Make Sure Your Doctor is Supportive for your Non-Covid Disability Benefits Application

COVID-19 Disability Guide: How to Make Sure Your Doctor is Supportive for your Disability Benefits Application

The Social Security Administration uses a List of Impairments from its Blue Book of Disability, As a matter of fact, if you meet the Work Credits, have enough prove to support your claim of being disabled and are unable to earn, you're considered as eligible to apply for Disability Benefits. However, the Coronavirus pandemic has made it a cumbersome process to file your disability benefits or to attend your disability hearings online. Due to the matter of fact that most of the SSA staff is now working from home, your application for disability benefits can take weeks or even months to be processed. Hence, it is very important to do all your homework regarding the disability application, and make sure your doctor is supportive of your application.

How to make sure your doctor is supportive of your disability case

When you file an application for Social Security claims you will be analyzed both medically and non-medically by your social security examiner. This also requires you to submit both medical documentation and those documents not necessarily related to your medical impairment. You will be required to fill out a Residual Capacity Form, RFC.

What is RFC and why should you care?

The RFC is an assessment document that needs to be filled by your doctor unless you qualify automatically under the Social Security's Blue Book of Impairments. If your condition does not meet the requirements of the SSA's Blue Book of Impairments, you may still be awarded Social Security Disability Insurance based upon your functional limitations.

This would be a detailed report that would clearly list out all the possible limitations that may make you unable to perform work under substantial gainful activity, SGA. Therefore, this needs to be filled out carefully and honestly. In some cases, disability applicants are unable to have full support of their doctors resulting in their medical care providers/physicians providing vague statements in the RFC forms. As a result, the disability examiners may think your disability is not severe enough or your symptoms are not as worse. This may cost you a straight out rejection of your disability application. 

Unfortunately, some doctor's may refuse to help their patients or simply fail to understand the document's importance leading to the patient's social security claims denied. This is because your doctor or GP's assessment matters a lot while considering your eligibility for the social security claims. For instance, if you have PTSD and frequently find yourself unable to focus on work, your doctor may simply rule out the possibility of you unable to perform work if you two have a communication gap in your medical history or medical symptoms.

There may be many other reasons behind your GP's reluctance to assist you through RFC, such as:

  • Unclear expectations:

Most of the times, your specialist or GP won't know the importance of filing out the RFC form carefully or may simply fail to use the right tone of language to list all of your symptoms correctly. Unlike reference letters for college essays, your doctor won't need to write long essays or comprehensions on your disability. Yet, some doctor's actually refuse to fill out the RFC forms due to this sole reason. Hence, this falls upon you to let your doctor know what to expect. Better, you can talk to an attorney to gather all of the documentation necessary for social security qualifications. Your attorney would happily take on the task to communicated the expectations with your doctor clearly and help them understand the legalities behind the situation.

  • Lack of time:

Sometimes, this may be genuinely the only reason why a doctor may refuse to fill out the RFC forms. Doctors' have a tough job and very tight schedules, and they may not agree to fill out an RFC form for you due to busy schedules or tight engagements. Whatever the reason, you should try to accommodate your doctor as much as possible. You can offer to let them fill up the RFC when they get off from duty, or ask your attorney to make an appointment with your doctor after their work hours.

**Special Tip: Since much of the SSA staff including the Disability Examiners (DE) are working from home, it takes even longer to get your disability application approved or evaluated. Moreover, access to healthcare systems and hospitals for frequent (non-emergency) visits are being discouraged all across the United States. That is why, it is vital to convince your doctors, explaining them the importance of your disability application RFC form and get it right the first time around. This will not only save you frequent visits to the hospitals but also make sure that your doctor(s) are not irritated to help you out.

Medical opinions about your disability:

This problem occurs with claimants who changed their doctors before filing out the RFC form or requested a doctor who does not have any history of your medical conditions. The best way out of this situation is to contact the doctors who knows your medical condition in and out and who you find the most reliable. Some doctors may also simply refuse to fill out your RFC form because you think your condition is not disabling. In this case, you should try to communicate your symptoms with medical history, proofs and other doctor's statements with your current doctor. But beware, do not try to do fraud with your RFC forms as this can land you in serious troubles legally.

  • Money:

Some doctor's may be too busy to find out time from their busy schedules. However, most of them would take up the job as long as you can compensate them for the time it takes to fill out your RFC form.

Whatever your case, explaining and convincing an unwilling doctor to fill out the RFC form responsibly may be cumbersome for you. However, your attorney would be able to help by explaining the legalities and importance of the situation to your doctor. Also, many doctors find it reliable to work with attorneys who represent you on your behalf instead of working with you directly for matters involving legality. You can read more on RFC forms here. 

Disability application process is long, tiring, cumbersome and complicated. It should not be lest to non-professionals or untrained staff. This will not only cost you time and money, but also result in a rejection of your application. To consult an attorney for your social security case, you can contact us through phone or email, or visit us at our office through an appointment.

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Tuesday, 19 January 2021