Elderly woman signing SSD documents

3 Reasons an Administrative Law Judge Might Not Rely Upon a Treating Physician’s Records

Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits can greatly alleviate the financial difficulties that many individuals with disabilities face. But unfortunately, sometimes you may be denied SSD benefits. Sometimes an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ), who works for the Social Security Administration (SSA) and helps to decide the outcome of your case, will decide against you. He or she is not required to rely only on the records and notes of your treating physician. Rather, the ALJ can decide to give your treating physician’s opinion little, or even no, weight. The ALJ is responsible for explaining the reasons for his or her decision to you and your attorney. So, why might an ALJ not rely upon a treating physician’s records? Here are three common reasons. 

1. You haven’t been to the doctor in more than six months.

In order to qualify for SSD benefits, it’s important that your medical condition is documented by your treating physician, who will maintain medical records. To receive SSD benefits you must seek regular medical treatments. So, if you’ve stopped treatment without a good reason, your SSD application for benefits will probably be denied. This is because medical records are so important in establishing how long your condition has been present. This can also help determine your back pay should you receive SSD benefits. Ultimately, an ALJ only needs to see your current records, as the determination for disability depends upon your current ability to function in a position. 

2. Your doctor failed to provide the necessary objective medical evidence. 

ALJs require objective medical evidence in determining your eligibility for SSD benefits. Put simply, if your application is not supported by tests that are generally accepted within the medical community (e.g., CT scans, MRIs, X-rays, etc.), your application will likely be denied. 

3. Your doctor failed to adequately explain your limitations. 

It’s one thing to have medical records of a disease or disability, but it’s another to have an explanation of how it leads to your limitations. Solely having a disability does not by itself qualify you for SSD benefits. Your disability must also impair you in a manner in which you are unable to maintain employment. If your physician fails to include the effects of your disability, an ALJ may give little weight to statements about your condition alone. It’s important to note that a conclusion of not being able to work is a legal conclusion – not a medical one. 

The Las Vegas SSD Attorneys at Roeschke Law, LLC Can Help

Applying for SSD benefits or appealing a decision can be very difficult. It’s important to ensure that you present the required evidence in order to achieve the outcome you desire.

If you or a loved one is struggling with a disability that prevents you from working, you may not know how to proceed. Fortunately, the attorneys at Roeschke Law, LLC can help. We understand the impact that a disability can have on your physical, emotional, and financial health. That’s why it’s our mission to help you. To learn more, or to schedule a consultation, contact us today!