How Can Seeing a Physical Therapist Help My Disability Claim?

December 20, 2021
Dayes Law Firm

Qualifying for disability benefits requires suffering from a medical condition that is expected to last for a year or more. The medical condition must also prevent an individual from being able to work.

However, just meeting these criteria is not enough to be eligible for disability from the Social Security Administration (SSA). The SSA must know that a disability claimant has sought treatment in an effort to improve his or her condition. In certain instances, this may require seeing a physical therapist.

Below, learn about the benefits of physical therapy and a physical therapist may help your chances of your disability claim being approved. Our Social Security Disability attorneys based in Phoenix have helped many claimants pursue SSDI and SSI benefits. We offer an initial consultation free of charge.

No Obligation Involved. Ph: 1-800-503-2000

Physical Therapy Benefits for Disabled Individuals

Physical therapists help evaluate a patient’s condition, such as an injury, disease or disability and provide appropriate treatment. Patients are often referred to a physical therapist by their doctors.

Individuals who can benefit from physical therapy include those with the following disabling conditions:

  • Cardiopulmonary diseases – Examples include Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and Cystic fibrosis (CF)
  • Hand and upper extremity conditions – Hand therapy can increase range of motion, function and strength if you suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome.
  • Musculoskeletal disorders – Anyone with severe back pain, rotator cuff tears and joint pain
  • Neurological conditions – Physical therapy can help restore functional mobility, strength, balance and coordination if you suffer from a stroke, severe spinal cord or traumatic brain injury, as well as after being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) or Parkinson’s disease.
  • Pediatric conditions – Having an incurable condition such as cerebral palsy and muscular dystrophy

Depending on your condition and reason for treatment, physical therapy may help with the following:

  • Pain management
  • Symptom relief
  • Avoiding surgery
  • Improving mobility
  • Improving balance
  • Fall prevention
  • Managing age-related issues
  • Overall recovery

Medical Evidence of Your Disability Required

When you apply for disability benefits, the claims examiner reviewing your file will want to see sufficient medical evidence of your condition. This means a detailed treatment history. What was your official diagnosis? What treatment were you prescribed and what has been the outcome of that treatment?

If you have a physically disabling condition that could be improved by going to a physical therapist, the claims examiner will want to see a record of your physical therapy sessions and track progress. Not seeing a physical therapist when needed will likely hurt your chances of getting benefits.

Ways a Physical Therapist Can Help With Your Claim

A physical therapist can often show limitations of a medical condition with specificity. If you are currently seeing a physical therapist and the therapy you are getting has not significantly improved your condition, your physical therapist could document this in your medical record.

Similar to a treating doctor, a physical therapist can provide a written statement or opinion to the SSA regarding the prognosis for your condition. The SSA will need proof that you have a long-term disability.

If you have not been disabled for at least a year, a physical therapist could explain how long your condition is expected to last. He or she may be able to explain the likelihood that continuing therapy may improve your condition enough to return to work or work in a different capacity than before.

It is important that you maintain a detailed record of your physical therapy and make notations on whether or not the therapy has impacted your condition.

Does Social Security Disability Cover Physical Therapy?

While you may need physical therapy in order to receive or retain disability benefits, you may be concerned with the costs involved – especially if you go to multiple sessions each week. The good news is that Social Security Disability may cover your therapy. However, there are restrictions to know about.

The physical therapist must meet the prescribed standards for qualification. His or her services must be aligned with the established regulations set in place. For instance, if you are seeing a physical therapist at a rural hospital or public health agency, your therapy may not be covered. Any services that are also covered by Medicare and Medicaid will likely be covered by Social Security Disability.

Contact Us for Help With Your Disability Claim

At Dayes Law Firm, we are ready to help you submit a claim for disability or file an appeal if denied benefits. We are well-versed in what the SSA is looking for when making disability determinations.

Reach out to schedule a consultation with a member of our legal team at no cost or obligation to you. There are zero upfront costs for our services and no fees if we take or work on a case.

Available 24/7. Call 1-800-503-2000