What Should I Do? When Patients Seek Disability Documentation

  • Andrew P. Levin


Most mental health clinicians can expect to regularly encounter requests from patients to provide documentation in support of a disability claim. At the start of the application process, clinicians should frankly discuss with patients their appraisal of their condition and its impact on their ability to work. When clinicians do not believe the symptoms are disabling, they should not avoid sharing this appraisal with the patient and utilize the discussion as an opportunity to focus on treatment goals and return to work. When clinicians do agree to provide documentation, they need to work closely with the patient to explain the process, gather the necessary information, translate it into the required format, and support the patient in responding to the determination of the disability administrator. When the patient is deemed disabled the clinician should continue to focus the patient on achieving the highest possible function. If the application is denied, the clinician should consider options with the patient including an appeal process and/or accessing other possible resources. Throughout the process clinicians need to be alert to potential biases that may affect how they respond to the request and what information they provide.


Disability Social Security Private disability insurance Independent medical evaluation 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Columbia University College of Physicians and SurgeonsHartsdaleUSA

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