The foundation of a Long Term Disability (LTD) claim is the claimant’s medical records. The LTD insurance company should have your doctor’s treatment notes, lab reports, imaging studies (for example, x-rays and MRIs), and, perhaps most importantly, statements from your doctor. If your doctor is willing to provide a statement in support of your long term disability claim, you should obtain a written medical source statement. Be aware, however, that overly conclusory statements that essentially say “my patient is 100% disabled and unable to work” are nearly useless.
Long-term disability claims examiners who review disability claims are not interested in short, conclusory statements from personal physicians. Instead, the doctor should explain why the claimant is unable to work. How can a treating physician do this? In a letter o by filling out a residual functional capacity form. The LTD insurance company is looking for a doctor’s evaluation of how well the disability claimant can:
- lift and carry weight;
- push and/or pull
- grip and manipulate objects
- reach overhead and in other directions
A doctor should also provide information regarding a patient’s range of motion in all major joints.
Unfortunately, many doctors are unwilling to provide this type of detailed statement, even though this is exactly what the insurance company is seeking. Despite resistance from medical providers, claimants who are seriously interested in winning their disability claims should strive to obtain this type of statement from their doctor.
A form that is typically used to provide this type of detailed statement is called an residual functional capacity (RFC) form. The insurance company probably has its own generic RFC that it uses in all claims, but their form is typically too generic and is used to deny claimants benefits. To obtain an RFC form that may actually assist you in winning your claim, use our free RFC form.