How Does a Claimant Prove He or She is Disabled for Purposes of Social Security Disability Benefits?

Palm Springs Social Security disability attorneys often find some of the best evidentiary support for their clients’ claims that they are disabled from the clients’ treating physician(s). The Social Security Administration (SSA) is required to consider the opinions of a claimant’s personal physician because the physician is in a unique position to testify to the history, nature, and course of the claimant’s impairment over a period of months or years.

A claimant’s physician does not need to have any particular expertise in order to evaluate the claimant’s functional capacity. Generally, the central issue relating to a claimant’s functional capacity is whether the claimant is able to work eight hours per day, five days per week, 50 weeks per year. Depending on the claimant’s age and other factors, the issue may be modified somewhat, but in any case, the claimant’s long-term treating physician is probably in a better position to resolve the issue than a specialist who spends at most a few hours with the claimant evaluating his or her functional capacity. In fact, when a specialist sees a claimant only for the purpose of conducting a functional capacity evaluation, the specialist often works from the assumption that the claimant is able to do sedentary work. This assumption could prove fatal to a claimant’s application for benefits. Of course, expertise in the area of functional capacity would allow the SSA to give more weight to a treating physician’s testimony, but with the aid of a Palm Springs Social Security disability attorney, a treating physician with no background in evaluating disability claims can be an effective and compelling witness.

To learn more about the role treating physicians play in disability benefits claims, please contact Palm Spring Social Security disability attorneys Gilbert & Bourke, LLC.