Friday, April 25, 2008

Treating Sources

When applying for Social Security Disability (“SSD”) benefits you should identify all of your treating doctors, even those who are not treating your primary impairment. I represent a 49 year old whose biggest problem is lymphoma, but she also suffers from autoimmune disease and chronic fatigue syndrome. I was able to obtain her SSD benefits in less than two months, which I attribute to identifying all of her treating sources.

The claimant has been treating with three oncologists for her lymphoma. It is not uncommon for the Social Security Administration (the “SSA”) to deny application of claimants who have been diagnosed with lymphoma or breast cancer for example. What differed here was the claimant’s additional treatment for autoimmune disease and chronic fatigue. In addition to the oncologists, I provided the SSA with the treating source information for the three internists, five gastroenterologists, four rheumatologists, and three other doctors that the claimant has been seeing for her medical conditions.

A cynic might conclude that the disability examiner assigned to the claimant’s case simply wanted to avoid all the work required to develop the claimant’s application. However, since an approval in less than two months is relatively rare, as is a claimant who is treating with nearly 20 doctors, logic dictates that recognizing the scope of the claimant’s treatment was the reason for rapid approval. While this may be an extreme example, it remains advisable to identify every medical source who treats a condition that can impact one’s ability to work.

No comments: