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Completing your Social Security Administration Disability Application

One of the most common questions on our disability forum is whether or not a doctor has to provide information for a Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income claim, and if so, what type of information has to be provided.

Doctors do not have to fill out any forms or provide a note for your SSDI or SSI claim but what they include in your medical record (or do not include) can affect your chances to win Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income benefits.

What information should your doctor provide for your disability claim?


Although a doctor’s note that you are disabled may be useful, the most important form that your treating physician can complete for you is the Residual Functional Capacity Form or Ability to Work Activity Form.

What the Social Security Administration really wants to know to determine whether or not you are disabled, which is not provided by a note, is whether your condition leaves you with enough residual capacity to perform substantial gainful activity. The benefit of the Residual Functional Capacity Form is it clearly lists the limitations, both physical and mental, that you have from your disabilities.

Another benefit of the Residual Functional Capacity form is it allows the doctor to discuss why your condition limits you in specific areas.

A copy of the residual functional capacity form can be downloaded from the internet and taken to your doctor. Keep in mind, there are two different types of Residual Functional Capacity Form: physical and mental. If you have physical limitations be sure and use the physical Residual Functional Capacity Form which clearly outlines your physical limitations. Questions included on a physical RFC form include:

All of the information provided by the doctor is very specific and it directly relates to the claimant’s ability to work sedentary, light, medium, or heavy work. With this information the Social Security Administration can clearly determine if you are able to work your past jobs, recent jobs or retrain for new work.

The mental residual capacity form will be similar to the physical form but it will detail limitations from your mental health condition.

What information should your doctor not provide for your disability case?


Frequently we are asked if your doctor has to “support” your Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income claim. It depends what you mean by the word support. Do they have to provide an RFC form? No, in fact, many doctors are simply too busy to be bothered with any paperwork for a Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income disability case.

If your doctor is unwilling to provide any information for your Supplemental Security Income or Social Security Disability Insurance case that may be fine, but if they have included any information in your file about how you are NOT disabled or that you could perform work, this could hurt your case. It may be time to find another doctor.

Why complete the Residual Capacity Form?


If you do not have enough medical documentation from your treating physician the Social Security Administration will send you to a consultative examiner who will complete a residual capacity form (either mental or physical depending on your condition). It is very important to have your own medical evidence to counter any claims made by the consultative examiner.
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