Friday, August 15, 2008

SSA Medical Reports

The Social Security Administration (the “SSA”) sometimes asks treating medical sources to complete form DDD-3883. Since the SSA is normally required to accord treating medical sources extra weight, the DDD-3883 responses should be given more weight than the opinions of non-treating doctors. I represent a 49 year old nurse whose benefits were approved at the initial level, even though the SSA doctor concluded the claimant had the functional capacity to work, due to the way the DDD-3883 was handled.

There are three things you should do about form DDD-3883 when applying for disability that can expedite a favorable decision. First, tell your doctor to notify you if the SSA sends a DDD-3883 (or any other information request). Second, ask your doctor to send the DDD-3883 to you or your attorney, not the SSA after it is completed. Third, discuss with your doctor the type of responses that could help or hurt your claim.

The SSA sent my client’s treating doctor the DDD-3883 to complete. The doctor completed the form while the claimant waited, who then sent it to me. I asked the doctor to clarify a response. The DDD-3883 only let the doctor answer that the claimant was unable to sit for 6 hours a work day. I had the doctor specify that the claimant was actually limited to sitting for only 2 hours a work day. The SSA may have argued that it appeared my client could do sedentary work by sitting 5 hours and standing 3 hours. The treating doctor’s clarification made it clear that sedentary work was not possible.

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