You’re struggling with a chronic condition that’s making it harder and harder for you to keep working. Since your doctor hasn’t told you that you’re disabled, however, you figure you just have to keep going.
That’s a mistake. In all but the rarest of situations, physicians generally will not look at a patient and say, “It’s time to quit working.”
Why? Because they may know your condition, but they don’t really know what your job entails nor how well you are managing day to day. Everybody responds differently to health problems. One person may be absolutely flattened by a slipped disc in their back, for example, while another person will manage to keep working for years. Plus, doctors don’t like to discourage their patients from doing what they can for fear that they might “give up.”
Your doctor is more likely to wait for you to say, “I can’t keep working with this condition. Will you support my disability application?” instead. If you’re nervous about bringing up the subject, here are some tips that can help:
- Lay the groundwork. Make regular follow-up appointments for your condition as soon as you realize that you’re starting to decline. Make sure that you discuss the full range of your symptoms and limitations at each visit, so that they’re well-documented.
- Be direct. If you can, make an appointment to discuss your decision to file a Social Security Disability claim with your doctor face-to-face. If that’s too difficult, try emailing your doctor a letter. Keep in mind that you’re not asking for their permission.
- Explain what you need. Doctors usually don’t know much about the disability approval system. Let your doctor know they may be asked to fill out a form that describes your residual functioning capacity and supply records pertinent to your claim.
Filing for Social Security Disability benefits can be scary, but you don’t have to do it all alone. You can get legal help here in Houston if you need it.