Doctors and Long Term Disability

A good doctor can make or break your disability case. That’s why it is so important to see at least one doctor regularly, follow the doctor’s treatment recommendations, and make sure the doctor provides the proper documentation of your medical condition(s) to the long term disability insurance company. Your doctor can really help with your disability claim – if he or she supports you and is willing to fill out one or more forms.

Unfortunately, most doctors do not know what kind of information a long term disability insurance company needs approve someone for disability benefits. You can help your doctor by learning about what information your doctor needs to provide, including details about your functional limitations – preferably on an RFC form, and making sure your doctor keeps detailed records of all of your symptoms over your entire treatment period.

How Your Doctor Can Help With Your Long Term Disability Claim

Get Your Doctor to Write a Statement Supporting Your LTD Case
Your long term disability insurance company will want to know your doctor’s opinions as to your functional limitations / impairments.

Can a Doctor’s Letter Win a Disability Case or Get You Approved?
If the doctor’s letter is actually a good evidence statement showing your RFC, it can help.

Residual Functional Capacity Form (RFC ) for Doctors
Your doctor’s RFC form, also called an Attending Physician’s Statement (APS), may be the most important part of your disability case.

How the Long Term Disability Insurance Company Uses Medical Evidence to Decide Whether You Can Work
The insurance company uses your medical evidence to create an RFC and then will likely perform a medical-vocational analysis.

Why Your Doctor, the Treating Physician, Is Important in an LTD Claim
Some courts give great weight to your treating doctor’s opinion of your disability.

Why You Should Always Comply with Your Doctor’s Treatment Orders
If you are filing for disability benefits but do not follow your doctor’s recommended medical treatment, your credibility and your entire case may be jeopardized.

Why It Is Important For Your Doctor To Write Up Your Functional Limitations
For most disability claims, your doctor’s assessment of your functional limitations is the most important evidence in the entire claim.

Questions About Doctors and Disability

What Do I Need From My Doctor to Qualify for Disability Benefits?
Your doctor’s detailed opinions as to the extent of your functional impairments and limitations are key in your Long Term Disability claim.

Can You Send More Than One Doctor’s Letter to the Insurance Company?
Yes. In fact, you should try to have each of your treating doctors submit a medical statement about your disability to your long-term disability insurance company.

Will My Doctor Charge Me to Write a Letter for My Insurance Company?
Your doctor may fill out a short form for free, but may charge you a fee to fill out a lengthy RFC form. However, it is usually worth the money to obtain your doctor’s assessment.

Should One Doctor Fill Out Both The Mental and Physical Disability Forms?
The doctor who fills out an RFC form should be practice area specific. If you have a mental condition, it would be best to have an RFC filled out by a mental health professional such as a psychiatrist or psychologist. If you have a physical condition, it should be filled out by your primary care doctor or a specialist in that area

Will My LTD Claim Be Approved If I Haven’t Had Any Doctor Appointments?
It is much more difficult, but not impossible, to qualify for long term disability benefits if you have been treating for your condition(s).

When a Doctor May Not Help Your Case

Make Sure Your Doctor Supports Your Disability Case
If your doctor will not help you with your disability claim, you should seriously consider switching doctors.

Getting Cooperation From Your Doctor for Your Disability Case
If your doctor is hesitant to help or does not want to get involved, find out why and address his or her concerns.

Can the Long Term Disability Insurance Company Ignore My Doctor’s Opinion on Disability?
Not usually, but case law has developed that governs when an insurance company can discount your doctor’s opinion.

What If a Doctor Says You Are Malingering (Faking) to Get Disability Benefits
Here is what to do if a doctor makes a note in your medical record that you may be malingering or exaggerating to get long term disability benefits.

Going to an IME with the Long Term Disability Insurance Doctor

Why the Insurance Company’s Doctor May Only See You for a Few Minutes

Should You Trust the Insurance Company’s Disability Doctor?

Why Doctors at Long Term Disability Medical Exams Are Rude

Consultative Medical Exams for Long Term Disability

Medical Records in an LTD Claim

What Medical Evidence Does Your Doctor Need to Provide to the Insurance Company?

Make Sure Your Doctor Adequately Documents Your Functional Impairments / Limitations

Why You May Submit Your Doctor’s Records Straight to the Insurance Company

Developing Medical Evidence for Long Term Disability Without a Doctor
A disability lawyer has creative ways to develop the required evidence when you have not yet established a comprehensive medical history by seeing a doctor.

Available Resources

Attending Physician’s Statement / Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) Form
Download this APS/RFC form and ask your doctor to fill in the required details on your functional limitations.