Finding the right doctor for your disability application does not have to be overly complicated but it can be a bit time consuming. The good news is the Social Security Administration does not require any one particular doctor to complete the proper documentation. However, all doctors have the right to refuse to assist with the application process. In order to make the process of finding the right doctor for you, we offer some tips and guidance.

Begin with Your Current Doctor

To begin the search, first speak with your current doctor. They likely know you best and have likely been a part of your medical examinations before, during and after your disability diagnosis. These medical professionals should be able to assist you without too much extra work. It is possible they already have all of your medical records and test results so that you do not have to track them down or start over with a new doctor.

Unfortunately, some doctors and medical practices have a policy of not participating in disability applications. It is simply their policy, and they will likely not change it for anyone regardless of your relationship. Before you lose hope or become frustrated, ask their advice – they might be willing to recommend another doctor who does help with the process.

Some doctors have a policy of not filling out forms, but don’t realize that they are able to write a letter in their own words, instead. Informing them of this fact can sometimes encourage an unwilling doctor to help after all.

If a Doctor Does Not Participate

If a doctor informs you they do not want to participate in disability documentation, do not become discouraged. Let them know that you would be happy to provide them with everything they need to complete the letter or forms so that they do not have to spend their valuable time gathering the necessary information. If they still do not want to participate, don’t worry, you have options.

Many people will ask for letters from all of their doctors and other healthcare providers, such as psychologists, neurologists and other specialized medical professionals like therapists, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants. You can also meet with new doctors. Before you begin the search for a new doctor, make sure they are within your insurance provider network or that you can afford such services.. If you do meet with a new doctor, always be prepared with the necessary records and tests featuring abnormalities to help speed up the process.

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Unique Approaches

For applicants who have a difficult time finding a doctor who will be supportive in a letter or completing the right forms, you might have to get creative. Some previous disability applicants experienced success by going to another state. In the past, this might have been too challenging or costly for some people with disabilities. Telehealth policies from Medicare, Medicaid and other insurance providers often allow individuals to select a doctor from any state, as long as they are approved by the insurance company.

Another growing trend is to work directly with nurse practitioners rather than doctors. This may also help ease the time it takes to meet with a doctor or the challenge of getting a doctor to complete paperwork. Doctors specializing in your unique conditions can also be helpful. Keep in mind that specialists can sometimes be even less helpful with paperwork than other doctors, though. It doesn’t hurt to ask, but be respectful if they decline… If you have any questions or need assistance, reaching out to a disability benefits advocate may also be a good idea.

Meet With an Advocate

A disability benefits advocate is always a great resource in helping with the process.. They may know the best way to approach a doctor for a letter and the type of doctors that will improve your approval chances.

An advocate can also sometimes help find the right doctor who will both write a letter and provide continued care in the long term. This type of doctor will make the entire approval process easier if your initial application is denied, resulting in the need to file for an appeal.

The Special Exam Requirements

The SSA may require specific examinations and tests before they determine whether or not you qualify for SSDI or SSI benefits. In many cases, the SSA will pay for the exams and testing if they specifically request them. They will also sometimes pay for travel costs associated with such doctor’s visits in these specific circumstances.

The results will be sent to your doctor if you ask.. And try to keep the appointment they make for you or contact them as soon as possible to change the date or time to schedule a more convenient appointment based on your situation. Failing to attend an exam scheduled by the SSA can result in a denial of your claim.

If you are asked to attend an exam scheduled by the SSA, remember to tell the doctor about all of your conditions that affect you, not just one or two. Don’t assume the doctor has all of your records. In fact, they very often do not have most of your records. This can result in an inaccurate exam report to the SSA. So, if you happen to have important records already printed, you should bring those to the doctor for review.

Also, if the doctor is rushing you through the exam, be sure to tell them if you have more you need to discuss.

Know What the Doctor Will Say

While a doctor’s letter and various medical forms are not the final decision in the SSDI or SSI approval process, the SSA takes their opinion and review of your condition into great consideration. If your doctor is not supportive of your claims, you should probably find another doctor to help with the process.

The right doctor can possibly make all the difference in your disability benefits application. You should start with your current doctor; however, do not be afraid to find another provider if they will not complete the necessary documentation or they are not supportive of your application. Remember though, to always be truthful and follow the requirements of the SSA for your best chance of success in the approval process.

This article is presented for general information purposes only. Nothing in this article should be taken as medical advice. Medical decisions (including whether to start, stop, or modify any treatment plan) are extremely important and should always be made with the advice and counsel of a qualified medical professional.

Thinking about applying for SSDI Benefits? Our quiz is easy and takes less than a minute!
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Already receiving disability benefits? We may be able to help you optimize your benefits & save money!
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About Citizens Disability, LLC:

Since 2010, Citizens Disability has been America’s premier Social Security Disability institution. Our services include helping people in applying for SSDI benefits, managing the process through Reconsideration, and representing people in person at their Hearing, and if necessary, bringing their case to the Appeals Council. Our mission is to give a voice to the millions of Americans who are disabled and unable to work, helping them receive the Social Security Disability benefits to which they may be entitled. Learn more about us and disability benefits like SSDI & SSI or give us a call at (800) 492-3260.

Citizens Disability is committed to helping keep people safe from fraud. We will never ask for personal details to start an SSDI application over Facebook or social media. We will only ask for certain details, in private messages, to confirm the identity of a client in a customer service situation. The only way to begin an SSDI application with us is on the phone, through a number found on our website, or one of our clearly-marked advertisements. Please keep your personal details safe, don't share them in a public forum, or with individuals who solicit your information.