In southern California, if you’re applying (or thinking about applying) for Social Security disability benefits, get legal help from an experienced Los Angeles Social Security disability attorney. When you apply for Social Security disability benefits, the Social Security Administration (SSA) could simply ask your doctor for his or her opinion about your ability to work, but they don’t do that. The SSA instead assesses your initial disability claim and reviews your medical records. Based on their analysis of those records, the SSA determines your capacity or incapacity to function in a work environment. The SSA does not ask your doctor for his or her opinion, but instead it reviews your records and makes its own decision.
The problem is that a doctor’s treatment records are intended to assist in the management of a patient’s medical care; those records are not intended to establish (or to fail to establish) the functional limitations that the SSA uses to evaluate a claimant’s ability to work. In fact, the process that the SSA uses to evaluate disability claims often results in a denial of the initial claim because functional limitations usually are not obvious from a mere review of your medical records.
Thus, it’s imperative to obtain your doctor’s opinion regarding your functional limitations and their impact on your ability to work. A direct statement from your doctor setting forth your functional limitations due to your disability is typically the most effective medical evidence you can offer in support of your disability claim. Usually, an administrative law judge at a disability hearing will give the utmost consideration to the opinion of a treating physician, but the judge is not legally obligated to accept that opinion. Administrative law judges consider a number of factors along with any opinions that are presented.
To win at a disability hearing in southern California, you’ll need representation from a good Los Angeles Social Security disability lawyer. If you’ve been denied benefits, a good disability attorney will appeal the ruling. He or she will help you line up the witnesses – including physicians – and gather the evidence you’ll need to prevail. If you’re applying for Social Security disability benefits – or if you are at any stage in the application process – consult with an experienced Los Angeles Social Security disability attorney as quickly as possible.