The simple answer is “yes.” If you are seeing multiple doctors for your disability, they can and should each provide a doctor’s letter. In fact, it is a “best practice” to have at least two doctors provide you with a doctor’s letter to give the insurance company. For example, if you are being treated by your primary doctor and a cardiologist for a heart condition, you should ask both to provide you with letters. And if you are also seeing another specialist – like a hematologist, or blood doctor, you should also request a letter from that doctor.
When requesting doctors’ letters, it is best to request them from doctors that have a relationship with you. A doctor’s letter from someone you only saw once may not carry as much weight. For example, if you only saw a cardiac surgeon one time to perform surgery and the surgeon was not involved in your ongoing care, then that doctor’s opinions may not add much value to your disability claim.
It is not appropriate to ask doctors that treated you in the past, well before your disability, to provide a statement. Similarly, the statements from your physicians should only reference your current disability and you should consider whether the doctor mentions medical conditions that might either (a) have a restricted time limit for the payment of benefits or (b) exclude you from coverage because it is a “pre-existing condition”.
For example, let’s say your policy restricts payments for mental health disorders to 24 months of payments. If you ask your primary (who has been your doctor for the past 12 years) to write a statement, you may not want the doctor to mention mental health problems like depression if your physical problems are disabling on their own, separate and apart from the depression.
Moreover, if your claim has a “pre-existing exclusion” clause that may apply to your case, you may not want your doctor to include in a letter comments about a prior injury that could prevent you from qualifying for benefits. This has the potential to be used against you by the insurance company to claim you had a pre-existing condition that contributed to your disability.
Make sure that your doctors write the right kind of statement, which is referred to as an evidence statement. A good quality statement from your doctor will help your case when applying for long term disability. Your medical source statement should include:
- Physical and mental limitations from your disability;
- Reference objective medical evidence to prove limitations;
- Explanation of how the evidence supports their conclusions;
- The treatment plan for your disability; and
- Examples of supporting evidence such as lab results, x-rays, MRI and CT scan results.
There is also a form that can help answer many of the same questions, and it’s usually required by the insurance company, called a Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) form. This report should not replace your doctor’s letters but provide additional evidence that supports your doctor’s statements.
The form will answer questions about your residual functional capacity like:
- How much can you lift? How often can you lift it?
- How much can you carry? How often can you carry it?
- How far can you walk without resting?
- How long can you stand or sit at a time?
- Can you bend, stoop, kneel, or reach overhead?
You can provide as many letters from your doctors as you think are necessary to prove your case. Request good quality statements from your treating doctors and ask them to cover your limitations, provide medical evidence, and outline your treatment plan.
Most long term disability claims are denied based on the lack of medical evidence. Work with your doctor’s office to be sure you have everything you need to have your claim approved.
Sending more than one doctor’s letter is completely acceptable and encouraged if you are being treated by multiple doctors for your disability. Using the guidelines we provided above, you can help build a strong claim and get approved much quicker.
If you need help, we can provide you with a free consultation call with no obligation to use our firm. During the call, we will answer any questions you may have. If you choose to use our law firm, we won’t get paid until you do!
The experienced disability attorneys at the Ortiz Law Firm can help you through the long term disability denial and appeals process. They only get paid if you win. You can seek help without worrying about upfront costs or unexpected bills. Our law experts will focus on your case so you can focus on your illness.
The Ortiz Law Firm has successfully represented people in disability cases across the United States. To see how we can help you win your long term disability case, call us at (888) 321-8131.