Transcript of video:
Hi everyone. Scott Kolligian, Ohio Disability Lawyer here to help answer a tough question that many of our public employees and public school teachers and employees have. When you arrive at that point when you know you can’t work anymore, and your co-workers or supervisors know it too…but your doctors don’t believe it. WHAT DO YOU DO? In the next few moments, I want to give you some ideas about how to get the support you need from your doctor.
You may already know that Ohio regulations require your doctor – an MD or DO no less – to certify that you are disabled from your occupation on one of their forms. This is required before the state retirement systems will even consider you for a medical disability.
So what happens if your doctor says “I don’t do disability forms,” or if he or she says, “I can’t say that you are disabled?” What do you do then? Today I want to give you three tips on how you might be able to turn things around and pursue the disability benefits that you deserve.
First, make sure that your doctor understands that your disability claim is different than a Social Security disability claim. I have had the privilege of teaching medical residents at a local hospital about disability claims, and simply put, they don’t understand the nuisances between all of the disability benefit systems. They lump “disability” into a category of not being able to work at all. So the first point I would make is to make sure that your doctor understands that your disability claim is simply about whether or not you can perform the last state job that you had. Understanding the difference is critical and could result in a much more willing physician.
Second, make sure your doctor understands both the physical and mental requirements or duties of your job. You can do this by obtaining the official job description from your public employer, reviewing it to make sure it’s accurate, and then giving it to your doctor with the attending physician’s report. For those of you who work for the metro parks, or maybe work as a school bus driver, your doctor might be surprised to learn that heavy lifting and maintenance are required of your job instead of you just sitting on a mower or in the drivers seat of the bus. The details are key to your doctor understanding and supporting your claim.
One last tip may be to ask that your doctor refer you for a functional capacity evaluation. It can be tricky to find someone who performs the testing accurately to produce reliable results. But if your doctor is in agreement with the test’s findings, he or she can simply sign off on them and certify your disability by comparing the evaluation’s results to your written job duties.
Hopefully some of these ideas will help you obtain the proper certification with your doctor.
If you have questions about your OPERS, STRS, or SERS disability benefit eligibility, reach out to us through our website or give us a call, and we’ll be happy to help.