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How Does a Doctor's Letter Affect Your Disability Case or Get It Approved?

What your doctor says and how they evaluate your case is important to whether the Social Security Administration approves or denies your benefits. Failing to see a doctor at all will almost certainly result in a denial. However, you can also be denied if the letter you present from your doctor doesn’t specify what officials need to know. See why the impact of that letter largely depends on how it’s written and what exactly it says.

Why Does the Wording Matter?

It is not enough for a doctor to write a letter that states he or she believes you to be disabled. If there are no corroborating details, the administrator will be left asking more questions than before they first read the letter. A much more involved letter, also known as medical source statements, will list all the reasons why a doctor believes their patient is unable to perform gainful employment. This gives the applicant their best chance at getting the approval they’re looking for.

What Needs to Be Included?

A letter from a doctor should ideally include the following:

  • Quantifiable tests, results, and conclusions that prove a person’s disability
  • A full explanation of how the medical evidence supports your disability claim
  • The exact limitations the doctor feels the patient possesses

Whether it’s a physical or mental disability, the letter needs to clarify what the doctor believes a person can’t do (e.g., lift heavy objects, walk long distances, etc.) and why exactly the person is unable to do it. The doctor should include all images and official documents that an official can use to justify their decision. (Letters are the best way to get this information to the examiner as in-person testimony can typically too expensive for most applicants.)

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