Doctor with notes talking to a woman

When you feel that you need SSDI, you are going to have questions about the process. Your disability determination is typically driven by your medical records. Can you apply for SSDI without a doctor or without having doctor appointments? Let’s explore the role that your doctors can play in your SSDI determination.

Does SSDI Look at Your Medical Records?

Do you want to know what wins SSDI cases? Documentation. The more medical records that you have detailing your disability and how it impacts your life the better. In fact, SSDI wants you to seek treatment. If your disability could be improved by recommended medical treatment that you are refusing or simply haven’t entertained, then getting approvals for benefits is going to prove difficult.

Moreover, a doctor that is familiar with your case can actually help you by writing a letter to Social Security on your behalf detailing your condition and their medical opinion stating that you are unable to work. Having medical evidence and support for your disability isn’t just recommended for your SSDI case, it’s essentially vital.

5 Social Security Disability Myths

Can Social Security Provide a Doctor For You?

If you do not have medical records to support your disability claim, then Social Security may send you to a doctor for a consultative exam. Though this does remain an option for you, it’s typically not a good call for several reasons:

Doctor looking at notes
  • Consultative Doctors Are Often Biased—Consultative doctors are looking at one thing, and that’s your ability to work, and a short exam may not be enough to provide the full picture. If they don’t see evidence of your inability to work in that exam, they will likely rule against you.
  • Consultative Doctors Are Not Experts—A doctor in a consultative exam is a full-fledged doctor, and there is no doubt that they have the expertise, but they may not fully understand your condition like a specialist would.
  • Consultative Exams Are Short—This isn’t going to be a doctor that you know and trust, not only will this add to their bias, but the shortness of the exam combined with their unfamiliarity with your case is going to do a poor job of painting a full picture.
  • Consultative Exams Can’t Establish a Timeline—In most cases, a consultative exam isn’t going to be able to determine the onset date of your disability. So, even if you have been disabled and unable to work for quite some time, without the medical records to support it, establishing when your disability prevented you from working could prove difficult.
  • A Favorable Exam May Not Be Enough—The Social Security Administration prefers to operate on evidence. Even if the exam comes out in your favor, it will still be weighed against your lack of medical records

Official 2023 SSDI Increase

Can You Apply For SSDI Without a Lawyer?

Now you know the truth about applying for SSDI without a doctor—you can, but you shouldn’t—what about a lawyer? There the answer is a bit more complicated, but we recommend making a lawyer aware of your case especially if you are worried about being denied or have already been denied.

Having a lawyer on your SSDI case drastically increases your odds of being approved. Our lawyers only get paid if we win your case and only a small percentage of your award. This means you have nothing to lose! Consider getting a free case review from Tabak Law today!

Nothing posted on this website is intended, nor should be construed, as legal advice. Blog postings and site content are available for general education purposes only.

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