SSA changes weight of treating physician rule

In a recent rule change, the Social Security Administration (SSA) has changed the way in which it will view statements from an applicant's treating physician. Previously, statements of the treating physician had been according "significant weight" as evidence of disability in an application for Social Security Disability benefits.

While not controlling, it made sense to consider the statements of an individual's treating doctor, as they have had the best opportunity to observe the person and examine their impairing conditions.

The new rule eliminates that perspective and means the statements or conclusions of a treating doctor may be minimized or given no greater weight by SSA's adjudicators than an individual who may have only reviewed test results and who may never have seen the patient directly.

This rule change when into effect on March 27 and will make it more difficult for claimants attempting to obtain SSD benefits. The number of people who received SSD benefits has actually gone down for the first time decades and this rule change is unlikely to reverse that trend.

Ironically, while it becomes ever more difficult to obtain approval from SSA for disability benefits, the federal courts of appeal are finding more reasons to reverse denials by the agency. SSA has been criticized by these courts for looking for any reason to deny a claim, even in cases where there is strong evidence of disability.

The backlog, too, is working to SSA's advantage in reducing claims, as the typical two-year time frame most appeals require often results in the death of the claimant. Anyone who believes SSD benefits are easy to obtain simply does not understand the struggle many go through to receive them.

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information
Email Us For a Response

Get Help Today - Email Us

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information
disclaimer.

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.

close

Privacy Policy

Crowe & Shanahan

Crowe & Shanahan 500 North Broadway Suite 1500 St. Louis, MO 63102 Toll Free: 877-213-7793 Phone: 314-231-6660 Fax: 314-231-2357 St. Louis Law Office Map