Since Social Security disability applications focus on the medical proof of symptoms and their impact on function, approval can be problematic if the treating doctors do not agree that the claimant is totally disabled.
There are usually three reasons why this happens.
First and most often, the problem is the failure of the patient to complain or explain to the doctor just how difficult life has become. Many people form a positive relationship with their doctors and do not want to let them down. Therefore, a patient may minimize their symptoms and problems when they go to their doctor. At the visit they may say they are “ok” or that “things are stable.” Often, however, the truth is that life is challenging and their medical symptoms limit their ability to do even basic activities of daily living.
The need for a patient to fully communicate with every doctor and medical provider is critical.
We teach our clients: “Tell your doctors the truth! Do not put on an act for your doctor.” We often encourage clients to talk about the person that they see in the mirror and describe that life to the doctors – that bypasses the ego from talking. The more information a claimant can provide to their medical provider and/or doctor, the better medical care will be provided.
Second, some doctors just do not believe in the disability programs. They do not believe any of their patients should get this assistance, even if they paid for it with their Social Security FICA taxes. If your clients’ treating doctors express this attitude, the patient needs to have a discussion with the provider and consider whether this is the appropriate relationship.
Third, some people really should not apply for Social Security disability benefits. They truly are not “totally disabled.” They are likely medically impaired. That is, there is much work that they cannot perform, but there probably exists easier or less physically or mentally demanding work that they can sustain. They should seek those jobs and not file a Social Security disability benefit application.