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FAQ About Getting Your Doctor’s Opinion on Your New York Social Security Disability Claim, Part 2

Return to Part 1.

Part of the job for a New York disability attorney is getting a medical opinion from your treating doctor about your ability to work. If your doctor is adequately informed about what information the Social Security Administration needs, his or her opinion can be very helpful. Some of the questions that doctors ask about filling out medical opinion forms include: How important are objective medical findings are? How should I write about addiction? How can I convey a situational answer? What should I not write on a disability form? Knowing the appropriate  answers to these questions can help ensure that your impairment is properly documented for your Social Security disability claim.

What is the importance of objective medical findings?

Objective medical findings can be used to help determine the claimant’s work capacity and  whether the claimant’s impairment meets the Listing of Impairments. Even if the patient’s impairment does not meet a Listing, the claimant may be found disabled if the objective medical findings medically equal a listing.

Is drug or alcohol addiction considered “material”?

The ability to work if the drug or alcohol abuse were to cease is relevant in this situation. Damage done by drug and alcohol addition counts as disability, but not the temporary effects caused by the drug or alcohol use itself.

How can a situational answer, i.e. “it depends on the circumstances,” be properly conveyed on the form?

Marginal notes can be used to answer a question in this fashion. Generally speaking, the more information the SSA has, the better. The SSA more highly weighs  doctor opinions that contain more in the way of explanation. In fact, some experts hold that a residual functional capacity form is practically incomplete if it lacks notes written in the margins.

What should a doctor avoid doing when describing a patient’s work capacity on a disability form?

Doctors should avoid describing  their  patients  as more disabled than they actually are. This practice causes Social Security reviewers not to place important  reliance upon their medical opinions and assessments.

One of the most important things that your New York Social Security attorney will do is to inform your doctors regarding Social Security requirements, and  then   energetically  solicit  their  opinions in support of your claim.

For a free evaluation of your Social Security disability claim, contact Herbert Forsmith at (212) 809-1772 or (845) 278-2896.