Getting Your Doctor’s Opinion about Your Disability to the Social Security Administration
Many of our Social Security disability clients have come to us after their own frustrating and unsuccessful attempts to qualify for disability benefits from the Social Security Administration. The Social Security regulations are complex and can be quite confusing.
At first it might seem that presenting the case is relatively straightforward. All that you need to do to establish your disability is to prove that you are no longer able to work. However, as a Murfreesboro disability lawyer will tell you, proving this can be more difficult than it seems.
Generally, the most important evidence is a medical opinion about your condition because the Social Security Administration gives “controlling weight” to your doctor’s opinion. However, even giving a doctor’s opinion to the Social Security Administration is wrapped up in detailed regulations because for the opinion to have this controlling weight the Social Security Administration imposes three requirements:
- The doctor must be an “acceptable medical source” (for example, a physicians is ok, a chiropractor is not).
- The doctor must be the person treating you, and not just a consultant.
- The opinion must be well supported by medically acceptable techniques.
The Social Security Administration Puts More Weight on Reasons Than Conclusions
Whether or not your doctor’s opinion qualifies to be given “controlling weight,” it is important that the opinion explain the reasons for the conclusions in it rather than simply asserting that you are disabled. The way the Social Security Administration looks at it, its job is to determine disability, and the doctor’s role is to provide information about the degree of medical impairment.
The Social Security Administration evaluates the weight to be given a treating source’s opinion by considering:
- The nature and extent of the treatment relationship.
- How well the treating source knows you.
- Number of times the treating source has seen you.
- Whether the treating source has obtained a detailed picture of your impairment.
- The treating source’s specialization.
- The types of examinations and testing performed by or ordered by the treating source.
- The quality of the treating source’s explanation.
- The degree to which the opinion is supported by medically acceptable clinical and laboratory diagnostic techniques.
- The consistency of the opinion with other evidence.
Nurse Practitioners Are Not Considered to Be Acceptable Medical Sources
Often people are treated much more frequently by a nurse practitioner than by a physician. However, the Social Security Administration does not consider a nurse practitioner to be an “acceptable medical source.”
Therefore, even if your primary treatment comes from a nurse practitioner, your lawyer will probably want to either get a separate opinion from a physician or have the opinion from the nurse practitioner counter-signed by a physician. Even if the physician only saw you once but supervised additional treatment by the nurse practitioner, the physician’s opinion might be treated as from a “treating source.”
Get Help From a Murfreesboro Disability Lawyer
Developing the best possible case for your Social Security disability claim requires careful attention to detail and the guidance of a knowledgeable disability lawyer.
If you are not already represented by a Murfreesboro Social Security disability attorney and want our evaluation of your case, give us a brief description of your claim using the form to the right. Or you may contact our office at:
Parker, Toy & Associates, PLLC
Murfreesboro Tennessee Social Security disability lawyers
745 South Church Street, Suite 240
Murfreesboro, Tennessee 37130