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CJ Henry Law Firm, PLLC

Why Your Treating Doctor Does Not Need to Be a Specialist or Refer You for a Functional Capacity Evaluation

  • Published: June 8, 2011

The Social Security Administration carefully scrutinizes every aspect of your application for Social Security disability benefits. This includes the medical reports, clinical and laboratory test results, and the opinions of your treating doctor. In this article, Ocala disability lawyer CJ Henry explains that, contrary to what you may think, it’s not necessary for you to undergo a functional capacity evaluation, nor must your treating doctor have special expertise to give an opinion as to your capacity for performing work-related activities.

You are never required to undergo a functional capacity evaluation. In fact, these tests hardly provide concrete indication of your ability to sustain work activities for 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, and 50 weeks a year. Especially if you’re under 50, what’s important is whether you’re able to do easy jobs, such as full-time sedentary work (which requires you to sit down for 6 hours out of the standard 8-hour workday, stand or walk for about 2 hours a day, frequently lift light objects, and sometimes lift up to 10 pounds). The problem with functional capacity evaluations is that they automatically assume, as a default, that you already have the capacity to do sedentary work. Evaluating your true ability to sustain sedentary work can actually be quite prolonged and expensive.

In addition, the treating doctor’s specialized expertise or training (or lack thereof) is only one consideration that the Social Security Administration uses to weigh the doctor’s opinions. It is not the determining factor. According to the Social Security Administration, a doctor who has treated you long enough to have a longitudinal perspective on your medical problems is in a good position to give a helpful opinion as to whether or not you’re disabled. It is usually the case that the Social Security Administration will benefit more from the opinion of a treating doctor who has seen you for a long time rather than the opinion of a medical expert who has only examined you once.

If you’re considering applying for Social Security disability benefits, do not hesitate to contact experienced Ocala disability lawyer CJ Henry today.

Claudeth Henry

Attorney Henry is a Florida disability lawyer uniquely suited to
help you with your disability-related legal needs...Read More