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SSA Disability- What if I have only seen one doctor?

A common question on our disability forum is, “What if I have only seen one doctor?” The Claimant wants to know if information provided by one doctor will be sufficient to prove they are disabled and unable to work, qualifying them for SSDI or SSI.

First, the fact that a claimant is seeing a doctor is good. There are thousands of claimants who struggle months or years to get SSDI or SSI simply because they do not have the funds or insurance to get good medical care to prove they are severely disabled. But is this enough, it will depend on your condition.

What type of medical care do you need to prove your SSDI or SSI case?

The most important aspect of the applicant’s SSDI or SSI case is to get the proper medical care. The SSA will depend almost exclusively on your medical records to determine if you are disabled. So the first step to winning SSI or SSDI disability is to find great medical care from a “qualifying” medical source which the SSA defines as

Additionally, whether you see one doctor or ten they need to provide the right information for your medical file. Medical evidence to support your diagnosis and claim of disability should include, according to the SSA, “medical reports, medical history of a claimant, clinical findings (such as the results of physical or mental status examinations), laboratory findings (such as blood pressure, x-rays), diagnosis (statement of disease or injury based on its signs and symptoms), treatment prescribed with response and prognosis.”

When should I see a specialist?

Whether or not you will need to see a specialist will depend on your condition. For example, if you have a condition such as Multiple Sclerosis the SSA will consider your family physician as a credible medical source and they will consider their findings, but they would also expect that you have seen the proper neurologists, pain management doctors and specialists.

The SSA will assume that if you have seen the proper specialists and have followed their treatment plan, but you continue to have difficulty working that you may actually be disabled. The better doctors and specialist you can see the stronger your case and the easier time you will have proving your SSI and SSDI disability claim.

What if you have not seen the proper specialist?

One of the reasons the SSA may send a SSI or SSDI claimant to a consultative examiner is because they have not seen the proper specialist for their condition. This may sound like a great idea; maybe you can even save some money by having the SSA pay for an evaluation from a specialist.

The problem is the consultative examination is generally a VERY cursory examination which may not help your case. Additionally, the consultative examination does not determine whether or not you are disabled; it simply provides more information to the SSA so the SSA can make a better disability determination.


Get the proper medical care for your condition. Having the right doctors, including specialists, can be the best way to strengthen your SSDI or SSI case.
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