Fresno Social Security disability lawyer explains the role of the doctor in your Social Security disability claim
One of the key pieces of evidence that your Fresno Social Security disability lawyer will rely on for your case is the medical opinion of your treating physician. The testimony of your doctor will among the only pieces of evidence about your injury that an administrative law judge will accept.
Your Doctor’s Opinion Carries a Lot of Weight
Your doctor will describe the nature and severity of your medical conditions, as well as his opinion as to what diagnosis best explains your symptoms. He will also give his opinion as to your prognosis and any physical or mental impairments that your condition imposes.
In many cases, a medical opinion may even carry more weight than your medical records themselves, as the records themselves may need to be interpreted before they can be used as evidence in a disability hearing. As a result, the Social Security Administration may give your doctor’s “controlling weight,” which means that it will adopt your doctor’s opinion as its own for the purposes of adjudicating your case, as your Fresno Social Security disability lawyer will explain.
How to Present Your Doctor’s Opinion
There are several options for presenting your doctor’s medical opinion to the administrative law judge during your disability hearing. Probably the most effective method is live testimony, where your doctor appears at your hearing and answers the administrative law judge’s questions. However, doctors tend to be very busy, and in many cases they simply cannot fit a hearing into their schedule.
Therefore, the doctor’s opinion must be recorded in some way. Common methods include a transcribed interview between your attorney and the doctor (called a deposition), an extensive questionnaire provided by your Fresno Social Security disability lawyer (an interrogatory), and the use of standardized medical opinion forms. You may hear your doctor’s opinion, once it has been obtained, referred to by several names, including medical source statement, Residual Functional Capacity opinion, or medical assessment.
If you applied for Social Security disability benefits and were denied, it may be worth contacting a Fresno Social Security disability lawyer to help you through the process of appealing. After all, the Social Security Administration does even have a chance to see your doctor’s medical opinion before you appeal.