I see both my primary care physician and an orthopedist regularly. Should I have them both send statements to Social Security to support my disability claim?
You can send as many doctor letters to Social Security as you like. You should ask each doctor who is treating you for a medical condition you're basing your disability application to write a statement for you. If you are applying for disability benefits for a physical impairment, such as a heart problem, and a mental problem, such as depression, you should definitely have at least two doctor letters sent to Social Security. In this case, you should ask your personal physician or cardiologist (whoever is the treating doctor for your heart condition) and your psychologist, or preferably your psychiatrist if you have one, to write detailed statements for Social Security.
It's better to get doctors you see regularly to write letters than a doctor you've only seen once or twice. Social Security will take into account whether you have a long relationship with your doctor when it decides how much weight to give to medical evidence from your treating doctor.
But make sure your doctors send the right kind of letter or statement, which is called a medical source statement or evidence statement. Your doctors need to give details on your limitations, why you are limited, and what evidence there is that backs up these limitations; a short statement or letter that you are disabled won't help. If your treating doctor, or doctors, are willing to provide you with a letter, you should request that the letter address your medical history, diagnosis, treatment methods, your response to treatment, laboratory and clinical findings, and a detailed statement about your limitations and an opinion as to what you are able to do in spite of your disabling condition or conditions. Doctor statements can really help your disability claim if they are provide Social Security with necessary information about your disability.
For more information, see our article on what doctors' letters to Social Security should include.