The Treating Physician’s Role in Disability Determinations

Doctor’s Questions and Answers

A disability attorney in Jacksonville knows that treating physicians are routinely asked by the Social Security Administration (SSA) and disability attorneys to supply opinions and information regarding the impairments a patient claims. Listed below are the answers to typical questions that disability attorneys know a physician may receive.


  • When a patient is claiming Social Security disability, why is the treating doctor’s opinion needed?
    As your disability attorney in Jacksonville will tell you, Social Security disability rules and regulations suggest that the person in the medical field most qualified to present a detailed picture of a particular claimant’s impairments is none other than his or her treating physician. Objective medical findings or individual examination reports, such as those resulting from Social Security Administration consultative examinations, or even brief hospitalizations, are usually not enough to give a definitive picture. The treating physician provides a unique perspective to all the medical evidence.
  • What information is the treating physician asked to give to the Social Security Administration?
    A disability attorney in Jacksonville will advise that the Social Security Administration may question a physician concerning the extent, severity, duration and nature of the patient’s impairments. This may include opinions and observations regarding the effects of treatments, their side effects, the patient’s ability to function, and the length of time the impairments may be expected to limit or prohibit the functioning ability of the patient. The Social Security Administration may also ask a treating doctor about the impairment’s effect on the patient’s functioning ability when performing sustained work activities as well as the patient’s functioning ability in daily living activities. A treating physician’s opinions regarding questions of this sort help the Social Security Administration come to an accurate conclusion regarding the severity of the patient’s impairments and his or her remaining capacity to perform work.

To speak with an experienced and knowledgeable disability attorney in Jacksonville concerning your disability claim, please call First Coast Disability Lawyers at 904-215-5555.

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