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Ledgerwood Law Group

Q:
Would including a note from my doctor with my California SSDI benefits application increase my chances of being approved?

A:

Not necessarily. While it seems like a note from your physician explaining the extent of your limitations to the Social Security Administration would be a savvy measure to take in applying for disability benefits, it often doesn’t work out that way.

The three issues we usually see with doctor’s letters are:

  • Too unstructured. Without guidance, your doctor may not successfully connect the dots for California disability court to explain how your limitations will directly impact workplace performance.
  • Too brief. The Administrative Law Judge needs a certain amount of detail to understand your circumstances.
  • Non-existent. Doctors are prone to ignore or forget letter requests.

Instead of relying on a doctor’s note, officially request a Medical Source Statement (MSS) from your doctor. The MSS offers an objective and carefully documented evaluation of your disabilities that will directly link them to workplace limitations. Medical Source Statements include hard evidence like test results, physical evaluations, and imaging.

What’s more, as long as there is no obvious evidence to the contrary, the ALJ is required to view information submitted in this format as accurate.

Medical Source Statements are typically submitted to the SSA as a Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) form. Completing the form is an administrative process outside of most doctors’ usual duties, so she or he may require a fee.

If you need to know more about medical source statements or other aspects of the SSDI claims process, contact a Northern California disability benefits attorney at the Ledgerwood Law Group today: 888-761-7383.

Thomas Ledgerwood
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Proprietor Ledgerwood Law Group