Opinion evidence can have a big impact in Social Security Disability cases, especially when it comes from a treating source. But sometimes a treating doctor, counselor or therapist will decline to provide an opinion if he or she is in the best, but not ideal, position to do so. For example, maybe the disability claimant can only afford to treat with their primary care doctor, who declines to provide an opinion because he or she is not a specialist. If Social Security has not sent the claimant to a consultative exam, there will be no opinion evidence in which a doctor identifies specific functional limitations caused by the claimant’s impairments (except for the doctor working for the state agency making the determinations at the initial and reconsideration levels). The treating provider may not fully understand how opinion evidence is considered in Social Security Disability claims, or may not want to take the time because a response is not mandatory. In these situations, a friendly letter explaining the role of opinion evidence and requesting that the doctor provide whatever he or she is comfortable with, even in the form of short narrative (preferably with the records used to form the opinion attached), can get results.
Consider contacting an experienced social security disability attorney for help with this and other issues.