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SSDI - Does my doctor have to submit the SSDI application?

SSDI Application Common Questions


Many disability applicants wonder how to start the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) process. Does your doctor have to tell you that you are disabled? Do they have to write you a note? Is there a special doctor you go to that declares you disabled? These are all great questions. Recently on our disability forum we had a disability applicant ask, “Does my doctor have to submit the SSDI application?”

The good news is that the SSA does not expect a doctor to complete the SSDI application or SSI application for you or provide a doctor’s note; in fact, you can apply for SSDI benefits even if your doctor does not think you are disabled.

So what do you have to have to be considered disabled?You will need good medical records from a professional medical doctor that proves  you have been diagnosed with a severe health condition and your condition is so severe it will not allow you to work for at least 12 continuous months.


What if your doctor will not fill out the SSDI application?


The good news, as mentioned above, is that it may not be necessary to get any “special” documentation from your doctor to prove you are disabled. This is good news for most disability applicants because given the increased work load for many doctors they may be unwilling to provide you with any information, other than what is contained in your medical records.

Does my doctor have to approve of my filing for SSDI?


No, you can file for SSDI benefits even if your doctor does not agree you are disabled. BUT and this is a big BUT, if your medical records state that you can work, that your condition is temporary or that your condition is not severe you will have a very difficult time convincing the SSA that you are disabled.

So if your doctor does not agree you are disabled it may be a good idea to get a second opinion and review your medical records to see if there is evidence that states you can work.

What information will the SSA consider to make their disability determination?


The most important evidence that the SSA will use to determine if you are disabled is your current medical records. After you submit your SSDI application, assuming you meet the nonmedical requirements of SSDI, the Social Security Administration will request medical records from your doctors, caseworkers, therapists, counselors, psychologists, and hospitals. There is no expectation that your doctor has written any type of “note” stating you are disabled.

Can my doctor provide information for my SSDI application?


Yes, a sympathetic doctor who is willing to provide information about specific work limitations caused by your disability can be invaluable to your SSDI application. One of the most effective forms used by many claimants is called a Residual Functional Capacity form. This form is especially useful because it identifies specific work limitations. The information provided on this form can help the SSA determine if you are capable of working sedentary, light, medium, or heavy work. This will be especially useful if the SSA needs to use their medical vocational allowance process to determine if you can work your past job, current job or retrain for new work.