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Stephanie O Joy, Esq
Stephanie O Joy, Esq, Soc. Sec. Attorney
Category: Social Security
Satisfied Customers: 11739
Experience:  19+ years legal exp. - 10+ years owning/operating her own SSD Law practice.
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Question for Stephanie O Joy, Esq. Hi there! Its me.....again!

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Question for Stephanie O Joy, Esq.

Hi there! It's me.....again! So I don't know if you remember our last conversation about how I was having some trouble getting an updated RFC from my doctor. I ended up writing her a letter and taking it down to her office. In the letter, I asked her if she could even write one sentence just agreeing with her last report. Well, I got a call from someone in her office saying that she would write a full letter (that was the ONLY option given to me) but that she charges $500 to do disability letters! I'm not positive, but I think that my prior lawyer paid her for the original one dated Dec of 2011 or somehow arranged payment (maybe a lien or something?) as I remember seeing something pertaining to this in the piles of paperwork that I sorted through. Well, my new lawyer does not do this. They said that usually if a doctor asks for payment for these letters, they just tell them to never mind. Just curious as to what your opinion on this is? I can possibly come up with the $500 to pay the doctor for the letter although I'd have to borrow from someone which of course I'd rather not do. On the other hand, I feel as though without the letter I am greatly increasing my chance of being denied by this judge again. He has like a 33% approval rate- the lowest in my state. Also, part of the Appeal's Council decision was based on the argument that he did not afford enough weight to this particular doctor's opinion so I'm thinking that it's even more harmful to not have an updated opinion from her. What do you think? Do you think it would be very detrimental not to have the letter from her? Do you think it would be worth the $500? Any other words of wisdom or advice as my rapidly approaching hearing nears? Thanks for all your help!
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Social Security
Expert:  Lindie-Moderator replied 11 months ago.

Hello,

I'm Lindie, and I’m a moderator for this topic. I sent your requested professional a message to follow up with you here, when they are back online.

If I can help further, please let me know. Thank you for your continued patience.

Best,

Lindie

Expert:  Stephanie O Joy, Esq replied 11 months ago.
Hi, nice to see you!

Hi there! It's me.....again! Hi back at you!

So I don't know if you remember our last conversation about how I was having some trouble getting an updated RFC from my doctor. I ended up writing her a letter and taking it down to her office. In the letter, I asked her if she could even write one sentence just agreeing with her last report. Well, I got a call from someone in her office saying that she would write a full letter (that was the ONLY option given to me) but that she charges $500 to do disability letters! IOH no!! You gave it to her STAFF? I would have given it to her IN MY PAID FOR VISIT and tell her that you really need this filled out here and now, while some businessy office manager is NOT trying to control how things are done.

'm not positive, but I think that my prior lawyer paid her for the original one dated Dec of 2011 or somehow arranged payment (maybe a lien or something?) as I remember seeing something pertaining to this in the piles of paperwork that I sorted through. My concern is that your doctor has no idea what the SSA law says it must find in her "letter" to find you disabled, assuming it believes her. So her narrative may not be entirely great. At the very least, get a standard SSA RFC type form that THEY send to doctors, so at least you know what the SSA thinks is important. You can fill it out yourself (one copy) and give it to your doctor with the blank one for her to fill out, and just let her know that "here is what I know about myself" - and "this form doesn't require much writing, only check boxes mostly, could you fill it out now? Time is of the essence here, my insurance benefits require I get this information in. I plan on getting it to them today."

Well, my new lawyer does not do this. They said that usually if a doctor asks for payment for these letters, they just tell them to never mind. What he is likely saying is that HE won't pay for it. And that is understandable, since the possible contingent fee he may win could be eaten up by him paying for your out of pocket expenses. I wouldn't pay either, unless VERY small (under $100) and only if my client was destitute with no working spouse or family - I am NOT supposed to be their bank lender :) Usually, a claimant has to prepare (over the months or years) by putting away a few bucks each pay period, to prepare for this budget need down he road). Many don't, of course, but they should. I urge them to when I take a new client on - even $10/mo is better than nothing.

Just curious as to what your opinion on this is? I can possibly come up with the $500 to pay the doctor for the letter although I'd have to borrow from someone which of course I'd rather not do. On the other hand, I feel as though without the letter I am greatly increasing my chance of being denied by this judge again. He has like a 33% approval rate- the lowest in my state. I understand. I'd have a discussion with the lawyer - and consider getting a GOOD RFC form, ask her to fill it out AND do her narrative accordingly, perhaps commenting on each one.

Also, part of the Appeal's Council decision was based on the argument that he did not afford enough weight to this particular doctor's opinion so I'm thinking that it's even more harmful to not have an updated opinion from her. What do you think? Agree, since they specifically brough it up. Do you think it would be very detrimental not to have the letter from her? Yes, I think it COULD be - particularly since you have NO opinion that is current. 2011 only speaks to 2011.

Do you think it would be worth the $500? 20/20 hindsight. If you win, ABSOLUTELY, obviously. If you lose, you are out $500. However, will your life change with or without the $500? Nice to have, but will it make you or break you?

Any other words of wisdom or advice as my rapidly approaching hearing nears? Let me know if the above helps you decide. I do resent doctors that choose to even CHARGE their SS patients (or ANY patient) for giving THEIR opinion on THEIR patient's medical conditino and related limitations. Heck, that should be part of their job description, no? What the hay???

Thanks for all your help! Welcome!


I hope this helps! My goal is to provide you with excellent and accurate service – if you feel you have gotten anything less, please reply back, I am happy to address follow-up questions. Kindly rate me "excellent" when you are done. I look forward to assisting you in the future, should you have legal questions.

Sincerely, Stephanie

Your online legal resource!

Customer: replied 11 months ago.

Thanks so much for another thoughtful and thorough answer! I feel like if I ever win this that YOU should get the retainer as you've been more help than any of my lawyers! lol


 


When I had my last appt. I did ask her in person just to fill out the RFC but she first said she wouldn't or "didn't do those forms anymore" and then referred me to a physical therapist to have the form filled out. So then I tried again, by just writing her a letter explaining the situation and delivering it to the office- I had it in a sealed envelope and told the nurse that it was very important that the doctor see it. I even told her that just a handwritten one sentence letter saying that things have not changed since the last time she filled out the form would suffice. When I got the call yesterday from one of her staff they said "the doctor asked me to call you..." so I am assuming that she actually read the letter herself.


 


I had also emailed my lawyer telling him about this situation and asking his advice as to what to do and I basically got nowhere. He said that he cannot advise one way or the other and that it was "up to me" if I wanted to pay the $500. I can sort of see his side of it in the sense that if he tells me to get it and I pay $500 and still get denied he might feel that I would hold him responsible, and if he tells me not to pay it and I get denied it could be the same situation- but jeeze even if he could point me in the right direction with a disclaimer attached, it would be nice! I know one way or the other it wouldn't be his fault, but I guess there are some who might look for others to blame.


 


So, what I'm gathering is that you think that I should go ahead and do it, or at the least that it would be somewhat detrimental to not present this to the judge? If I'm going to pay the $500, I should ask for both the letter and for her to complete the RFC form that I got from my lawyer? Thanks again for your help!

Expert:  Stephanie O Joy, Esq replied 11 months ago.
I agree, he can certainly state: "The more evidence you have the better. But your money and what you feel you can afford is your territory, I am not a financial advisor. We also don't know for sure the doctor will state what we want her to state - so it is a risk that your $500 is lost to your without a gain. You need to weight the options and costs and decide what to do." I also think that unless your doctor is an evil son of a gun, I'd like to think she'd NOT be willing to do it if she is going to put in unhelpful answer - it would be like tricking you into paying her $500 so she could give you a worthless piece of paper of absolutely no value.

If you are going to do it, I'd try to get BOTH, yes. The more the merrier. Some judges do like "forms", so the narrative may hold more clout.

So, what I'm gathering is that you think that I should go ahead and do it, or at the least that it would be somewhat detrimental to not present this to the judge? Like your lawyer, lol, I can't really say I think you SHOULD do it, because again, that depends on YOUR situation - However, I think that MORE evidence is better than less, particularly with a judge that has already denied you. So haveing that evidence is LIKELY better than not having it - case-wise, UNLESS the Doctor writes a bad opinion. If it were me and IF I felt I could afford it and still get by, I'd likely do it. And then I'd get a different doctor (on the sly) who has more compassion to her own patients, less greed for such a truly simple thing SINCE you are already a paying patient of hers (as opposed to a stranger or a free patient). YOu will need reports later, if you win, for CDRs and such, as they come along, if you remain disabled, so maybe there are less expensive report writers. But, if you think she is the best doctor, you have to think of that also, and weigh, again, your options.

If I'm going to pay the $500, I should ask for both the letter and for her to complete the RFC form that I got from my lawyer? Sure, why not? Thanks again for your help! Welcome.
Stephanie O Joy, Esq, Soc. Sec. Attorney
Category: Social Security
Satisfied Customers: 11739
Experience: 19+ years legal exp. - 10+ years owning/operating her own SSD Law practice.
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