Can My Doctor Help Me Get My Social Security Disability Benefits?


Q & A with 20+ year Social Security Disability Attorney Andrew Kinney

Q: Can my doctor help me get my Social Security Disability benefits?
A: Yes! But perhaps not in the ways you would expect. I’ll explain.

In our law practice, we purposely do not interact with treating physicians. Our clients make their own health care choices. Our clients go to doctors because they want to get better, or at least improve their quality of life. We explain the law.
The Social Security Disability program is all about the medical evidence. Forget what you hear on TV. Talk is cheap. Regular medical treatment is important. Just as important, though, is developing a treating relationship with certain medical doctors you know and trust. When you treat properly with physicians you know and trust, you create a bread trail of your problems.

This is where your physicians can help you further. Right after your next appointment, ask the doctor who knows you best these things:

1. “Doctor, can you please make sure you document my problems well?”
2. “Doctor, can you please make sure your treatment notes are clear about how I am limited?”
3. “Doctor, I had to apply for Social Security benefits. Would you mind if my attorney sends you a short form to fill out about my limitations?”

It is vitally important that your medical treatment notes document your ongoing medical problems. Attorney forms track Social Security law. While it is unusual for physicians to object to an honest, straightforward approach to your medical care, it can happen. Some physician practices, including the VA, try to avoid “forms,” but they complete them for insurance daily. Some physicians say that they cannot “decide disability,” but they are not. They are simply determining physical and mental limitations for their patients—something they lay out for working patients with injuries all the time. Finally, some physicians think their patients over 50 can still do “desk work.” That is fine. Depending on your past kind of work you can no longer do, the law can still be on your side. Ask an experienced attorney in this area of law.

Your medical providers are trying to make you better. Keep trying to get better, and document the truth about your medical problems. Your Social Security attorney will argue the rest.

Andrew Kinney, Esq., 12/1/15

Written by Andrew Kinney

Andrew Kinney is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame and Marquette Law School. He is in his 25th year of practice in Social Security Disability law. He speaks nationally on Social Security Disability practice, founded the Minnesota State Bar "Social Security Disability Section," and is an editor of the Social Security Pratice Guide, a five-volume legal guide published by LexisNexis.

View all author posts →

Legal Blog Expert