The Things You Tell Your Doctor

The things you tell your doctor about how you are doing (and what you are doing with your time) frequently end up in your medical progress notes. These progress notes provide your doctors with context and information about your condition. Anyone applying for disability needs to know that those medical notes become part of the record for your disability claim. These notes are read carefully by the people making decisions on your claim, whether that person is a disability examiner or an administrative law judge. I hate to say that you have to be careful what you tell your doctor, but you have to be careful what you tell your doctor. Because those statements made to your doctor are considered when your credibility is assessed by a decision maker. I had a hearing for recently for a claimant disabled by chronic pain. The record contained a treating doctor’s progress note stating that the patient “was helping a neighbor build an addition to his house.” Now it turns out that the claimant was knowledgable about construction, and was simply walking next door to give his neighbor advice about how to proceed. He never picked up a tool or lifted a board. There is nothing inconsistent with that activity and a finding of disability due to chronic pain; people in pain still socialize, and carry on their lives as best they can. But even when the actual facts are explained to the judge, credibility questions can remain. As a result, a case can become more difficult to win when doctors’ notes contain statements about the patient’s activities. So be careful what you say to your doctor, because...

What You Need To Know: Medical Examinations

  After you apply for Social Security or Supplemental Security Income disability benefits, sometimes you need to have special medical examinations or tests before we can decide whether you qualify. REMEMBER  The exam or test requested is intended to provide additional information  needed to help the state agency make a decision in your case.  If you cannot keep the appointment, you must let the state agency know right away. If you do not, the state agency may decide that you are not disabled.   Read the complete PDF from the SSA.gov Listen to an audio version of the...

Disability Awareness: Facts About Social Security

The Social Security Administration recently launched “The Faces and Facts of Disability,” as education and awareness initiative to help educate the public about Social Security Disability and dispel common misconceptions. Social Security touches the lives of nearly every American, often during times of personal hardship, transition, and uncertainty. Social Security programs  serve as a vital financial protection for working men and women, children, the disabled, and the elderly. SSDI is coverage that workers earn by paying Social Security taxes on their earnings.  Nearly 9 million disabled workers receive disability insurance.  These 9 million individuals make up a diverse group of individuals with mental impairments, sensory disabilities and physical disabilities. Watch this video on Social Security Disability to learn more.  ...

In Honor of Take Your Dog to Work Day

This Friday is take your dog to work day, a day wear canine lovers of all types bring their beloved four legged friends to the daily grind.  For service dogs, they go to work everyday helping people who are disabled manage their day-to-day lives. Here is a great story from the Kansas City Star celebrating these furry friends.  Enjoy the story here.  ...