An unprecedented amount of people in Portland and around the country are applying for Social Security Disability benefits. Recently disability offices around the country have begun pressuring physicians to speed up their evaluations of applicants and this has led to a mass revolt of doctors against the new demands placed before them.
The Baltimore Social Security office recently switched to paying its 140 doctors $80 per case instead of $90 per hour. The office also told the physicians that it did not matter if they had an expertise in a particular area which concerned an applicant’s case.
“The implication there was that you really didn’t have to be that careful and study the whole thing,” said a neurologist that worked for the SSA for over a decade. About 45 of the 140 doctors left within months of the new guidelines, including the neurologist.
The issues surrounding disability evaluations and the increasing pressures on the SSA indicate that the accuracy of evaluations may be going downhill. While this may result in some claimants receiving benefits despite being able to work, it is much more likely that truly disabled Portland residents will be denied benefits because the doctor evaluating their case lacks expertise.
This highlights the importance of being represented by an experienced Social Security Disability attorney. An experienced disability attorney will stress the importance of a client’s treating physicians’ opinions and use disability determinations from these treating physicians to discount contrary opinions from examining physicians that may not be experienced with a client’s particular medical problems.
Source: The Wall Street Journal, “Doctor Revolt Shakes Disability Program,” Damian Paletta, Nov. 21, 2011