Thursday, December 2, 2010

Disability Opinions & Medical Tests

Claimants are frequently surprised when their disability claims are denied even though their doctors provided a letter stating that claimant was disabled or was unable to work. A conclusory disability statement by a physician is rarely sufficient by itself to justify a finding of disability.

I represent a former police officer who had been seeing an orthopedist who stated the officer should refrain from working. The Social Security Administration (“SSA”) denied the officer’s application for Social Security Disability (“SSD”) benefits even though there were diagnostic tests showing significant cervical spine abnormalities.

In preparing the officer’s appeal, I obtained detailed functional assessments from the treating pain management specialist and neurosurgeon. Both of the specialists’ reports identified the clinical examination and diagnostic test findings that limited the officer’s ability to perform physical work demands.

I received a fully favorable decision today from the SSA. The decision cited the findings and conclusions of the officer’s pain management specialist and neurosurgeon, but not the treating orthopedist.

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