Does my doctor need to say I am disabled?

When it comes to obtaining SSD benefits, your doctor doesn’t make the ultimate determination of whether you are “disabled.” Still, your doctor’s opinion will carry significant weight.

When you first apply for benefits, the determination of whether you are disabled and eligible to receive these benefits will be made by a claims examiner and medical consultant from the local office of Disability Determination Services (DDS) of the South Carolina Vocational Rehabilitation Department. In Upstate South Carolina, that office is located in Greenville.

However, because your doctor presumably has been working closely with you and has strong first-hand knowledge of your medical condition, the doctor’s opinion carries significant weight.  In particular, it is helpful to have a doctor give an opinion regarding your residual functional capacity (RFC). Your RFC is your ability to perform physical and mental work activities on a sustained basis despite your limitations from your impairments.

An attorney can be very helpful to you in obtaining these doctor opinions regarding your residual functional capacity, as he or she can send your doctor questions regarding your medical condition and your limitations in a format that Social Security will understand.

To learn more, please see our page on How Your Disability is Determined. You can also read more about Residual Functional Capacity in the Code of Federal Regulations.

Posted in: SSD FAQs