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When you talk with your doctor:

  • It is preferable not to use the word "disabled" about yourself. She or he is likely to have a very different idea of what "disabled" means. You want to keep the focus on the Social Security criteria.
  • Likewise, avoid the word "permanent." Social Security doesn't require it.
  • It's better to just talk about the problems you've been having at work and your need to stop work for the time being.

Explain to the doctor (and keep in mind when you speak with him/her) that the definition of "disability" for SSDI purposes for adults who aren't blind is:

  • You must not be working and earning over $940 a month in 2008 ($1570 if you are blind).
  • Due to one or more physical or mental health impairments.
  • Which already has lasted, or can be expected to last, for a continuous period of not less than 12 months or to result in death.

Scott E Davis, an attorney specializing in Social Security Disability, suggests that the best way to talk with your doctor is to ask for the doctor's support for the next 18 to 24 months. "Almost all physicians will agree that a patient is unable to work for a period of time. Your physician will feel more comfortable supporting your disability claim when they know it is for a limited period of time and that you want to return to work after a period of recuperation. If after 18 to 24 months you are not able to return to work, then address the issue again with your physician."