When you have a disability claim, your doctor may be the most important person you know. The disability insurance company is going to ask the doctor to fill out a form, and you need the documentation only your doctor can provide. What do you do when your doctor will not fill out the disability insurance company’s forms?
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Video TranscriptYour doctor won't fill out the forms your disability insurance company wants. What do you do? I'm John Tucker. I'm a disability attorney. I represent people like you all over the United States in long-term disability insurance cases. I want to tell you three things you can do if your doctor chooses not to fill out those forms. Let's start, though by talking about how important those forms are.
The insurance company wants the information on their form. They don't necessarily need to get it on their form. They just need to get the answers to the questions, so keep that in mind as you go about trying to get the information from your doctor. So the first thing you can do is ask your doctor to dictate a narrative report. They can do that while they sit there with you in the examination. They can ask you questions if they want, they can look right off the form and answer the questions that way.
Now some doctors are not going to be willing to give all of the opinions that are needed. One of the most important things to know about doctors is they're trained to heal, they're not trained to document disability cases. So they may not want to explain your restrictions and your limitations. That's a problem for you, because your restrictions and limitations are the absolute most important thing in your case.
Without knowing how much you can sit, stand, lift, think, push, pull, concentrate, focus - all these things that we have to do to work, the insurance company can't make a decision on your claim. Put it a different way: without restrictions and limitations in writing, you can't win. So how do you get them if your doctor’s not willing to put them down? Well, you can consider testing that helps document those things.
One of the most common things people use to document physical limitations is called a functional capacity evaluation - FCE. FCEs are done by physical therapists and they take about four hours if they're done one day. Sometimes they are done over two days and that's two four-hour segments. And they document, very accurately, how much you can do physically. Again, sitting, standing, lifting, pushing, pulling - all the movements that the human body does that are part of work.
Now, be careful. I would recommend not going out and just trying to get one of these on your own. You want to select an attorney to help you, because not every physical therapist is the same. Some do work only for insurance companies and you may unwittingly fall into one of those offices. They have a tendency to say that everybody can work. They know the hand that feeds them, so they're probably not going to say you can't work. They're not going to document significant restrictions and limitations. Worse, they might even say you're faking to make it look better for you. You don't want that, because that's going to spell doom for your case.
Hiring the right physical therapist, one that's fair and credible, is crucial to you. Now the third thing you can do and you may not want to hear this, you may want to get a new doctor. Your doctor is that important to your case. I'm not a doctor, I'm a lawyer and I'm not telling you where to get medical care. I'm telling you how to document your disability case and you need a physician who's prepared to do that. And the question you may need to ask yourself in the end is, “Can I really go without my long term disability benefits? Do I have to pay my rent or my mortgage?” You may like your doctor, but paying the bills really matters.
If you're fighting a disability insurance company, call me at the number on your screen. I handle cases like yours every day. I'm John Tucker. Thanks for watching.