Until your doctor supports your long-term disability claim, you do not really have a claim. Winning long-term disability benefits even with a doctor is difficult. Without doctor support and supporting medical records, it’s impossible.Know Your Medical Records for Long-Term Disability

Talk to your doctor. Make sure she knows that you are filing for long-term disability. Your doctor needs to support your disability. You should inform your doctor of the policy requirements (you know them right? – see “Know Your Policy”) for finding you disabled.

Your doctor should talk about your disability in terms of how your disability affects your ability to perform the substantial and material duties of your position. Your medical records need to show objective proof of disability. What does this mean? Appropriate tests should be performed, all results noted, and the doctor’s observations of your condition(s) need to be mentioned in your records.

When you file your claim for long-term disability benefits, the provider will request your medical records from your doctors. They will even request records from the other doctors mentioned in any of your records. Your chances of convincing the long-term disability company that you are truly disabled and entitled to the benefits paid for greatly increase with accurate and complete records.

How can you be sure that your medical records are accurate and complete? Request them from your current and past health care providers. Review the records carefully to make sure that everything you told your doctor (or nurse, physician’s assistant, etc.) ends up correctly noted in your medical records. Often times “minor” details left off of your medical records can result in major problems later.

You should also review the medical records to ensure that they sufficiently document all of the objective reasons for your doctor’s diagnosis and opinion. Check to make sure that your doctor notes the correct date for the onset of your disability.

Do this before you file your first piece of paper with your long-term disability provider. If you notice problems or inconsistencies, get them cleared up before filing your claim. You can and need to make your file as strong as possible prior to filing your claim for long-term disability benefits.

If your health care providers do not understand the need for good reports, your file will likely contain a number of generic reports that could apply to any given person. This will not help you when you are trying to convince the long-term disability provider that you are disabled and entitled to long-term disability benefits.

A well-informed doctor and well-written medical reports that support your disability determination will go a long way in helping you get the long-term disability benefits you need. You and your doctor should be working as a team to build the best possible case for your long-term disability benefits. Discover the other 8 things you should know before filing your long-term disability claim.

Loyd J. Bourgeois
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Accident, injury, and disability attorney serving Luling, Metairie, New Orleans, and South Louisiana
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