Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Corroborating Physicians

In a prior blog entry, I discussed the importance of having multiple medical treating sources render opinions regarding a long term disability claimant’s inability to work. The same holds true in the Social Security Disability (“SSD”) context.

When handling an SSD case, I always encourage claimants to obtain as many medical source statements as possible. The Social Security laws require controlling weight to be given to the opinion of a treating doctor in many circumstances. Therefore, if the treating doctor supports the SSD claim, then there is a good chance that the claim will be approved. Nonetheless, having corroborating medical opinions can expedite receipt of benefits.

I represent a claimant whose SSD application was denied last Fall. Today, I received a fully favorable decision on the record, which means that the claimant won his case without having to appear at a hearing. The only thing that really changed was that I encouraged the claimant to treat with a second physician. That doctor eventually completed a report that corroborated the findings and conclusions of the claimant’s primary treating doctor.

While the claimant’s application may have been approved at a hearing without the corroborating opinion, the typical hearing wait is close to 24 months. By securing the corroborative medical evidence, the disability case becomes sufficiently clear that a hearing is not warranted. Expedited receipt of benefits can reduce attorney fees and the cost of lost interest, not to mention the benefits obtained from a second medical opinion.

No comments: