The Treating Physician’s Role in Disability Determinations

Doctor’s Questions and Answers A disability attorney in Jacksonville knows that treating physicians are routinely asked by the Social Security Administration (SSA) and disability attorneys to supply opinions and information regarding the impairments a patient claims. Listed below are the answers to typical questions that disability attorneys know a physician may receive. dv2062025
  • When a patient is claiming Social Security disability, why is the treating doctor’s opinion needed? As your disability attorney in Jacksonville will tell you, Social Security disability rules and regulations suggest that the person in the medical field most qualified to present a detailed picture of a particular claimant’s impairments is none other than his or her treating physician. Objective medical findings or individual examination reports, such as those resulting from Social Security Administration consultative examinations, or even brief hospitalizations, are usually not enough to give a definitive picture. The treating physician provides a unique perspective to all the medical evidence.
  • What information is the treating physician asked to give to the Social Security Administration? A disability attorney in Jacksonville will advise that the Social Security Administration may question a physician concerning the extent, severity, duration and nature of the patient’s impairments. This may include opinions and observations regarding the effects of treatments, their side effects, the patient’s ability to function, and the length of time the impairments may be expected to limit or prohibit the functioning ability of the patient. The Social Security Administration may also ask a treating doctor about the impairment’s effect on the patient’s functioning ability when performing sustained work activities as well as the patient’s functioning ability in daily living activities. A treating physician’s opinions regarding questions of this sort help the Social Security Administration come to an accurate conclusion regarding the severity of the patient’s impairments and his or her remaining capacity to perform work.
To speak with an experienced and knowledgeable disability attorney in Jacksonville concerning your disability claim, please call First Coast Disability Lawyers at 904-215-5555.

About John Fagan

John is a Jacksonville native who grew up on the First Coast. He graduated from Bishop Kenny High School in 1975 and went to college at Florida State University where he completed a 4-year program in 3 years. John graduated from the Florida State University College of Business in 1978 and went straight into Florida State University College of Law. While in law school, John earned a position on the prestigious Law Review Board serving as its Business Editor. As a law student, John studied in the Oxford program. He also interned with the Florida Legislature working in the Florida House of Representatives Criminal Justice Committee. John was admitted to the Florida Bar in 1981. John began his legal career as a law school intern in the State Attorney's Office in Jacksonville in 1981. After his internship, legendary State Attorney Ed Austin hired John as a full-time Assistant State Attorney for the Fourth Judicial Circuit (Clay, Duval, and Nassau Counties). As a prosecutor, John tried jury and non-jury trial on charges ranging from DUI to Murder. In 1983, John moved from the State Attorney's Office to begin his career in private practice. He has practiced law for 30 years on the First Coast. For the last 20 years, John and his family have made Clay County their home. John limits his practice to personal injury and disability cases. While there are many fine attorneys in Clay County, John is one of only a few Clay County attorneys who limit their practice to personal injury and disability cases. John takes pride in helping clients resolve injury claims in ways that avoid the stress, uncertainty, and the expense of unnecessary litigation. Professional Activities John is the past President of the Clay County Bar Association and has served on the Board of the Clay County Bar Association from 2009-2013. He is an active member of the Florida Bar, and the Federal Bar of the Middle and Southern Districts of Florida. He is also a member of the American Association of Justice, the Florida Association of Justice, the National Organization of Social Security Claimants' Representatives, and the National Organization of Veterans' Advocates. Service to the Community John is involved in the Clay County Community serving as a member and Director of the Rotary Club of Orange Park, of the Clay County Bar Association, and the Putnam County Bar Association.
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