In my October 15, 2011 post to this blog, I explained when the Social Security decision-maker must give your treating doctor’s opinion “controlling” weight. What happens, though, if your doctor’s opinion is not given controlling weight? In that situation, the decision-maker determines the significance of your doctor’s opinion by evaluating the following factors:
- The nature of the treatment relationship between you and your doctor.
- The number of times you have treated with the doctor.
- The nature of your treatment, including the types of tests performed and ordered by the doctor and the types of examinations he or she performed.
- Whether the doctor is able to present a detailed, long-term picture of your impairment.
- The doctor’s specialty.
- The quality of the doctor’s opinion. In general, the more information your doctor provides in support of his opinion that you are disabled, the more weight his opinion will be given. By contrast, a plain, unsupported statement of disability (e.g., “It is my opinion that the patient is disabled.”) will be given little weight, if any.
- Whether and to what extent the doctor’s opinion is supported by medically acceptable clinical and laboratory diagnostic techniques.
- Whether and to what extent the doctor’s opinion is consistent with the other evidence in your case.
Given the importance of medical opinion evidence to the success of your Social Security disability claim, you may want to speak with an experienced Detroit disability lawyer about this aspect of your case. If you are not currently represented by a Detroit disability lawyer, please use the Free Case Evaluation form on this page to tell me about your situation, or call or email me directly.