It is generally accepted that the disability opinion of a specialist is entitled to greater weight than a general practitioner. In the Social Security Disability context, that principle is codified in a regulation that gives more weight to the opinion of a specialist about medical issues related to his or her area of specialty than to the opinion of a source who is not a specialist.
For a variety of reasons, this had led many people to disregard seeking medical support from their primary care physician (“PCP”), who usually is a general practitioner, such as an internist or family doctor. Depending upon a claimant’s impairments, an internist could be the specialist whose opinion is entitled to extra weight.
A woman seeking Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”) benefits retained me just prior to her hearing. The claimant’s internist diagnosed her with diabetes, hypertension, anemia, hyperlipidemia, cataracts, osteoarthritis, Lyme Disease, and osteopenia. There are medical specialists for each of those impairments. However, when no single impairment is disabling, the PCP, in this case an internist, is the appropriate specialist for treating the combination of all the impairments.
I obtained a detailed functional assessment from the claimant’s internist that showed the claimant lacked the ability to perform sedentary work. The Administrative Law Judge agreed that an internist was the appropriate specialist under the circumstances, and approved SSI benefits because he gave controlling weight to the internist’s opinion.Previous Next
DISCLAIMER This website provides general information on disability law topics as a public service. Information is intended to be as accurate and current as possible, but should not be relied on as legal advice. No attorney/client relationship is created by viewing or using the content on this website. Each legal problem is different, and past performance does not guarantee future results. You should not act on any of the information contained in this site without first consulting legal counsel, which is why readers are advised to seek experienced legal representation in connection with disability related issues. Our Internet links are not associated with us, and we do not guarantee the accuracy of, any information contained in any link. Past performance doesn’t guarantee future results.
Copyright © 2023, Law Offices of Jeffrey Delott
Site Powered By: WebDesignYou