The one element missing in most Social Security cases: a medical opinion of limitations

To be found disabled, generally you have to show that you are unable to perform some type of full-time work. This is a simplification of the Social Security disability standard, but it is sufficient for this article.

The most common problem in Social Security disability claims is a lack of a statement of limitations from a doctor.

These statements go by different names:

  • Medical Source Statement (this is the term Social Security uses).
  • Medical Opinion.
  • Statement of Limitations.
  • Statement of Permanent Restrictions.

Whatever it is called, it tells Social Security what you can and cannot do. Social Security uses this to decide whether you are disabled.

Isn’t there a statement of limitations already in my medical records?

Probably not.

Most medical records contain a description of your symptoms, the objective findings, the doctors assessment, and the treatment plan. Most medical records do not have any statement of your limitations.

Doesn’t Social Security get a statement of my limitations?

They do. But, chances are it will not help you.

If you are reading this, you probably have already been denied. This means Social Security has already reviewed your medical records and formulated a statement of limitations. Since they denied you, Social Security’s statement of limitations is probably not good enough to prove you are disabled.

Even if you appeal, unless you have your own medically supported statement of limitations, you will probably be denied again. Social Security has a statement of limitations saying you can still work and you have nothing to disprove it. Even if their statement is wrong, if you do not have your own statement of limitations, you are at a disadvantage.

Even if Social Security has not yet made a decision on your case, do you really want a Social Security technician who does not know you, or a Social Security doctor who has never examined you, deciding what your limitations are?   Do you want that to be the only statement of limitations Social Security has when they decide your case? Of course not.

The best people to provide evidence about your limitations are your treating physicians. Your doctors know you and how your impairments affect you. If you are working with a lawyer, he or she can help you elicit a true and complete picture of your limitations from your doctors.

Whether you are fighting to get Social Security disability benefits on your own, or with a lawyer, keep in mind that a statement of limitations is a critical part of building your case, and the one element missing in most Social Security claims.

Disclaimer: This is NOT legal advice. This site provides general information about Social Security disability cases in Colorado. To discuss your particular circumstances, please contact a lawyer in your area. Please review the full disclaimer .

About Tomasz Stasiuk

Tomasz Stasiuk is a Colorado Springs Social Security disability lawyer and the founding attorney of the Stasiuk Firm - a law firm specializing in Social Security disability cases in Colorado. Follow Tomasz Stasiuk on Google and Twitter

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