You are sick, tired, unable to work. You see your doctor regularly and your doctor suggests you apply for Social Security Disability. You apply, and Social Security sends you to a doctor that they’ve hired to examine you. You spend all of 5 minutes with this doctor and leave feeling confused because this doctor asked almost no questions. A few weeks later, you get a denial in the mail. On that denial, that doctor’s report is cited as evidence that was considered to deny your claim. You appeal that denial (timely, of course).
Devastated, you go back to your doctor and tell your doctor what happened. Your doctor is shocked and proceeds to complete several forms and letters explaining that you are disabled. You get a letter in the mail a few weeks later with another denial. You appeal again and request a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge.
A new rule, effective March 27, 2017 has made it more difficult to qualify for benefits because it allows the Social Security Administration to give the same weight to your treating physician as the doctor that you saw for 5 minutes. Prior to March 27, 2017, the Social Security Administration was required to give your treating physician more weight. If your doctor gave an opinion that was supported by medical evidence that you were disabled, then your doctor’s opinion ruled the day. Now, that rule is off of the books.
One would think that if your own treating physician, that is, the doctor who has been treating you for your disability, sees you face-to-face, and spends lengthy appointments with you, gives an opinion stating that you are disabled and unable to work, you should qualify for benefits! Your doctor knows you and your condition best, not some doctor with whom you have zero history and may not even be familiar with your specific impairment.