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Can a doctor refuse to fill out disability forms?

Osterhout Berger Daley > Practice Areas  > Social Security Disability  > Common Questions > Can a doctor refuse to fill out disability forms?

When a person is impacted by a disability that they would like to make a disability insurance claim, they need to talk to their doctor to see if they will be willing to sign the necessary paperwork to send off to the Social Security Administration to start the claim process. But there are times when a doctor won’t be willing to sign the forms, whether because they don’t feel that the patient actually has the condition or just think that the patient doesn’t meet a listing. Anyone who is going through the process of making a disability claim should understand what they should do if their doctor isn’t willing to sign the paperwork.

The Forms You’ll Need for Your Claim

When a claimant wants to make a strong case, two of the most important things they can do is make sure that they have all of the necessary paperwork and ensure that it is filled out completely. Even small errors can slow down the process because the claim was denied for lack of all of the information. Anyone interested in applying for Social Security disability insurance should have a good idea about what kinds of forms will be necessary.

One category of forms that you’ll need is medical records that are required in the Blue Book listing for the disability that you’re making a claim under. For instance, you might need a doctor to fill out when you were diagnosed, what symptoms you claim, and what symptoms the doctor has seen personally.

And you might need a doctor to fill out forms for the residual-functional capacity test. This test looks at the types of work that the applicant has done in the past. It then compares these jobs with the applicant’s limitations.

Common Reasons a Doctor Refuses to Sign Disability Forms

A doctor can refuse to fill out or simply sign off on a disability form for several reasons, and it can be difficult to know the reason for any particular situation until you know some of the general reasons that doctors often don’t sign the forms.

One of the most common reasons a doctor will choose not to fill out a form is that they feel that a patient doesn’t meet the listing even if they technically have the condition. If the doctor is unaware of what kinds of requirements might be necessary to qualify, they might not sign it. Otherwise, they might be very aware of the requirements but still not think that the patient meets the listing because their condition isn’t severe enough to qualify or that the patient doesn’t have all of the symptoms necessary.

Additionally, some doctors might fear what might happen to them if the Social Security Administration disagrees with them. This might be especially true for doctors who have either had negative experiences in the past or were suspected of being dishonest. Some doctors might even fear being drawn into a legal battle.

Another reason that some doctors might choose to not sign the disability forms is that they think that it’s going to take too long to fill out all of the paperwork. In fact, some doctors might not even have any idea of what will be required of them. If a doctor believes that they’ll need to spend an hour or more on paperwork, they’re likely going to be wary about making the time commitment if they feel that it will draw their attention and time away from other patients. They might even feel like they have to make this choice out of ethical responsibility to others.

Still more doctors won’t fill out the forms unless they’ll be compensated for their time. Under many circumstances, getting the doctor’s opinion and getting them to fill out the forms is important in determining whether or not you actually have the condition that you say you have. That’s why you must pay the fee. Alternatively, if you have an attorney, they might temporarily pay the fee for you until your benefits start coming in.

The Next Steps When Your Doctor Refuses

If the doctor refuses to fill out the necessary forms, you can try to find out why they won’t do it. You’ll want to know if they feel that you don’t meet the listings in the Blue Book. You might disagree with these conclusions and seek a second opinion, but this should only happen after you’ve exhausted your other options.

Additionally, since some doctors don’t want to fill out the paperwork because they believe that it’s going to take too long, you can also see if they’ll be interested in dictating some of the responses to you so that they understand that the paperwork won’t actually be that time-consuming. That way, they just have to sign at the bottom once they’ve agreed with all of the responses. You can also talk to a disability insurance attorney if you feel like you’ve been unable to communicate to your doctor the importance of them signing the paperwork and what this process will involve.

If you have no other way to convincing your current doctor that they should sign the paperwork so that you can apply for disability insurance, you can also look into getting a new doctor. You shouldn’t do this too many times because getting multiple doctors’ opinions can look bad for your case because it looks like you’re continually being turned down by your doctors. But if you do it only once, there’s a better chance that the person assigned to your case will see this as potentially just a differing opinion between doctors.

Finding a New Doctor

Getting a new doctor should never be your first option because asking for multiple doctors to sign your paperwork can often raise suspicions on the legitimacy of your claim. Also, before you switch, you should get the history of how your medical condition has been treated and all of your symptoms that have been documented as this could be crucial to your claim.

But if you absolutely need to find a new doctor, there are a few factors that you should consider. You can try to find a specialist, such as a rheumatologist, if you were going to a more general doctor for your rheumatoid arthritis. If you and your doctor aren’t in agreement on the severity of your symptoms, going to a specialist for your concerns could legitimize your claims in the eyes of the SSA.

Getting Help from a Disability Attorney

Even if you’re not having difficulties getting your doctor to fill out the forms that you need, you’ll likely benefit from the help of an attorney. But you’ll especially need help if you’re struggling with getting your doctor to comply with your request for their signature on necessary paperwork. If you’re in this situation, you should talk to an attorney that you trust.

You should get a disability attorney when you’re searching for a place to go for the residual-functional exam, which you might get if your doctor refuses to fill out the forms for your application for the residual-functional capacity test. Talking to an attorney is a good idea because you need to go to a physical therapist to take the exam. A disability attorney will know which ones will give a fair assessment and which ones already work with disability insurance companies and, consequently, might be more inclined to deny any disabilities. Additionally, an experienced attorney can even help explain to the doctor why they should sign the paperwork for you.

How We Can Help

There are several ways in which the team at Osterhout Berger Daley can help you receive the benefit you deserve. We help individuals who need to…

If you are facing one of these situations due to a disability, please do not hesitate in reaching out. Our team of experienced attorneys are here to help, and your consultation is free.

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