You may have read here that the most important aspect of a Social Security disability claim is the medical evidence in your file. It is undeniable that your doctor's opinion can be the key piece of evidence that will help you win your case. However, more than once I have had a client ask, "My doctor says I'm disabled. Why was my claim denied?" After all of the information presented here, it may seem contradictory that your doctor's opinion that you're disabled isn't enough to make you successful in winning your Social Security disability claim. Here's why it isn't:
In the world of Social Security, "disabled" is a term of art. That means that Social Security has a very specific definition of what it means to be disabled under the Social Security Act. One of the things that Social Security must do before deciding if you're disabled is to determine your residual functional capacity. Simply put, that means that they must decided what things (such as sitting, standing, walking, pushing, pulling, reaching, crawling, crouching, etc.) you can and cannot do. For this reason, it is not enough that your doctor puts into writing a statement that you are "disabled." Your doctor's definition of "disabled" may not be the same as the Social Security Administration's definition. So how do you overcome this?
The most useful opinion you can get from your doctor is an opinion on what he or she thinks you are capable of doing. The easiest way to do this is to ask your doctor to complete a form on your behalf. An experienced Social Security disability attorney can provide you with forms that are made to follow along with Social Security's Rules and Regulations so that they will provide the biggest benefit to your case.