Can a Doctor Put You on Disability in Pennsylvania?

Dealing with a disabling condition can be incredibly difficult, especially when attempting to obtain government benefits to assist you financially. But these benefits may be necessary if your impairments leave you unable to work. You may be wondering if you can just get your own doctor to provide you with approval for disability benefits.

Unfortunately, it is not that easy. If you want Social Security disability benefits, you still must apply through the proper channels. However, your medical records and your doctor’s opinion can be critical for giving you the best chance in your application. You will need more than just medical records to get approval for disability benefits, but that should not stop you from getting medical evaluation prior to applying.

The experienced Pennsylvania disability attorneys at Young, Marr & Associates want to help you get the compensation that you require for dealing with your impairments. To that end, we can offer you a complimentary case review. Call our offices at (215) 515-2954 to get started.

How Do Disability Benefits Work in Pennsylvania?

The Social Security Administration (SSA) provides assistance in the form of monetary distributions to those who have conditions that prevent them from obtaining a living through employment. This program is known as Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). SSDI benefits are typically available to taxpayers who had previously worked for several years and subsequently developed a condition that hinders their ability to work.

The SSA uses strict criteria to determine whether an applicant qualifies for SSDI benefits. An applicant’s condition must be so severe that it cannot be suppressed and expressly prohibits the applicant from finding gainful employment. This includes not only employment in your previous field, but employment in any field at all.

Who Decides if You Qualify for Disability Benefits in Pennsylvania?

The ultimate decision regarding an application for SSDI benefits will be made by the Bureau of Disability Determination (BDD). The BDD teams that review applications are often made up of licensed physicians and professional examiners who will review all information that you submit to determine whether your claim should be approved.

Additionally, the BDD will typically request additional information from your personal doctor or treatment facility. This information may include the results of any past tests or lab work, a medical history of your current condition, history of any pre-existing conditions, and the treatment that you have received and are scheduled to receive in the future. The BDD will ask your doctor questions about how your condition affects you to perform work-related activities, both physically and mentally. What the BDD will not do is ask your doctor whether you are disabled. The BDD makes that decision themselves.

Can Your Doctor Write a Letter Requesting Your Disability Benefits in Pennsylvania?

Many SSDI applicants ask their physician to write a letter to the SSA or BDD that they will attach to their application for benefits. Doctors are allowed to write letters for the purpose of detailing the condition that their patient suffers from and how it affects their ability to work. However, the doctor may not specifically request that their patient’s application for disability benefits be granted. Rather, the letter should be an objective assessment of the condition itself and how it impacts the patient.

Your doctor does not have to comply with your request for a letter. Your doctor may choose to fill out a form instead of a letter. The letter likely won’t make or break the chances of your application being granted. However, having the letter can be a helpful and convincing tool in your effort.

What to Tell Your Doctor About Your Disability Application

If you are planning to apply for disability benefits, you should have your doctor’s appointment first. If you submit your application without getting medical assessment, the government may make their decision before your case is evaluated, which is almost never a good thing.

You should always inform your physician or treatment facility about your plans to apply for disability benefits. That way, they will be prepared for the future call from the government examiners. You can help to prepare your doctor by providing them with a list of your limitations during your appointment. It is better to have the list written out rather than trying to list all of the examples and hope that the doctor remembers them or takes notes. Make sure that your written list is short enough for a doctor to read briefly, but don’t leave out any important limitations.

Doctors are not obligated to agree with your version of how your condition affects you. When you are finished with your examination, you should ask your doctor about their impression of your condition. If your perspective of your condition does not align with how the doctor perceives it, the doctor may want to do additional testing to figure out if there is an additional factor impacting your symptoms.

If you are unhappy with the doctor’s opinion, you do have the ability to seek a second opinion. However, you should know that the BDD is not bound to use only the opinion of the doctor that you choose. Just because a doctor doesn’t agree with you does not mean that your application will be denied. Sometimes, the BDD will request that you have an additional special examination (known as a “consultation”) with your original doctor. The government will cover the costs of this examination.

For Help Obtaining Disability Benefits in Pennsylvania, Call Young, Marr & Associates

Negotiating your way through the complex process of applying for disability benefits can be difficult, especially for those dealing with serious physical and mental impairments. Call (215) 515-2954 for a free case evaluation with the Philadelphia disability lawyers at Young, Marr & Associates.