Colorado Springs disability lawyer Tomasz Satasiuk has published an article on his Colorado Social Security Law blog entitled Should I see a specialist when applying for Social Security Disability?
Tomasz and I agree that the answer is: YES!
Depending upon your impairment, a specialist's opinion can be very important both for your medical care and for your Social Security disability claim.
Three particular situations come to mind:
- If you suffer from fibromyalgia, it is very important to get that fibromyalgia diagnosis from a rheumatologist. The American College of Rheumatology sets forth the diagnostic criteria for fibromyalgia. There is a world a difference between a rheumatologist's diagnosis of fibromyalgia and your primary care doctor's diagnosis of a "fibromyalgia-like syndrome."
- If you have Lyme disease, you should see an infectious disease specialist who specializes in Lyme disease. Such expertise is very important both for your medical care and for your disability claim.
- If you suffer from a mental impairment (such as anxiety, depression or bipolar disorder), it is very helpful to have a psychiatrist or psychologist involved in your medical care. In my view, if your family doctor is the only one treating your severe anxiety and depression, you will have problems with your Social Security disability claim.
That's just three situations that come up over and over again in my practice. There are certainly others.
In addition to more focused medical care for you, a specialist's opinion is given greater weight by the SSA. See 20 C.F.R. 404.1527(d)(5).