The phrase "lost in translation" aptly describes what often happens with a Social Security disability claim at Disability Determination Services (the state agency that makes disability determinations at the initial application and reconsideration levels).
DDS obtains your medical records and usually has them reviewed by a DDS in-house doctor (for physical impairments) and/or a psychologist (for mental impairments). However, Social Security assesses your ability to work based upon functional limitations. When reviewing your medical records, often your true limitations are lost in translation.
For those applying for disability benefits, there is often surprise that their medical records did not establish their disability claim. Those who then look at their medical records are usually surprised again that the records do not set forth the limitations that they experience in their daily activities. Be sure to tell your doctor about your limitations, and make sure that your doctor writes it down in your progress notes.
To avoid the problem of your limitations being lost in translation, your doctor must speak the language that Social Security uses, which is the language of functional limitations. Obtain a medical source statement from your doctor, which will set forth your doctor's opinion of your specific functional limitations. Your functional limitations will be used by the person deciding your disability claim, so don't those limitations get lost in translation.
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