Cindy Speaker: Good afternoon and thanks for being with us today. My name is Cindy Speaker. I have with me as my guest today, Attorney Winslow Butts of Gardberg & Kemmerly, and Winslow is a Social Security Disability attorney, just going to talk with us about that topic today. How you doing, Winslow?
Winslow Butts: I’m doing good. How are you?
Cindy Speaker: Good, good, looking forward to getting some of your insights today.
Winslow Butts: Yeah, thank you for having me.
Cindy Speaker: Yeah, absolutely. We’re going to talk about medical treatment physicians and the importance of that. Let’s start off and talk about what is the importance of medical treatment when you’re applying for Social Security Disability?
Winslow Butts: Right. The main way that Social Security that they approve people is based off their medical evidence. People definitely need to be getting medical treatment in order to be approved. Without having doctor’s visits or hospital visits, there’s no documentation so there’s no way to prove that somebody is disabled. Getting medical treatment is the most important thing in applying for disability.
Cindy Speaker: Okay. Now, and what do I need from my doctor in order to verify my disability?
Winslow Butts: Right. You would need to just go to your doctor and, like you normally would every three months or however long it is. We also like to try and get statements from your doctor as far as the prognosis, your diagnosis, what treatment you’re getting, if they think they can work. It definitely helps people out if they do have an opinion from their doctor as far as what they can’t do and what they can do.
Cindy Speaker: Yeah, but let me just back up a little bit. The person applies for Social Security Disability. I assume there’s a certain form, there’s an application process.
Winslow Butts: Right.
Cindy Speaker: On that initial application, do they include a doctor’s letter or is there a certain form, they ask for certain information? I’m just wondering what kind of stuff and how comprehensive is the information that the individual has to supply.
Winslow Butts: They do. When they first apply it’s not a form of anything but you really list just the doctors that you’ve been to, the hospitals that you’ve been to. The main thing is getting the time frame right because Social Security is only going to request the years or the months that you give them, they’re not going to go out of their way to search for it. Make sure you know when you saw that doctor, the date, the year, where the doctor is is a big thing because, again, Social Security is not going to go searching to see where this doctor was or the hospital was.
Cindy Speaker: You really have to do a lot of leg work yourself.
Winslow Butts: Right. Yeah, definitely have the doctors that you … If you know where they are, definitely have them written down. That’s why we would advise people to get an attorney so that we can do most of the leg work for them.
Cindy Speaker: Okay, that’s a big point right there. If they get an attorney involved then you can do a lot, you gather the evidence.
Winslow Butts: Right, yes ma’am. Yeah, we would just need to know exactly where the doctor is and even if they don’t know, just the doctor’s name and we can do everything after that. We can get their medical records …
Cindy Speaker: Okay, excellent.
Winslow Butts: We can ask for statements from them.
Cindy Speaker: Okay, so do you get involved in the initial application process or only after the denial?
Winslow Butts: We can, yes ma’am. We can get involved with the initial application process, when they’ve been denied initially or when they’re waiting for a hearing. At any three of those steps we can get involved.
Cindy Speaker: Okay, great, great. Let’s talk about medication. Is it important to take the medication? Sometimes people say they don’t want to take the medication, it gives them side effects. How important is that in the process?
Winslow Butts: It is very important. Just like you said, we hear that a lot as far as people don’t want to take their medication but to a judge or to Social Security if you are not taking your medicine it just looks like you’re not being compliant. You’re not doing all that you could to get better. They want to see not only are people taking their medicine but they’re still having problems despite that medicine.
Cindy Speaker: Yeah.
Winslow Butts: That can be an issue because medication is expensive so it’s kind of a hard thing to do for most people. We’re lucky in Mobile that we have a place where people can get their medication for free but that medication is a big, important step of your Social Security.
Cindy Speaker: Well, that’s really great for the community that you have those types of resources. Not only the medication but sometimes they don’t have insurance, they can’t, they’re concerned about the cost of a doctor. What do you do? Is there any provision for that if somebody’s in that situation?
Winslow Butts: Right, there are … We always recommend low cost clinics. We have a few places here in Mobile where they can get low cost treatment. Even if it is just a clinic, it’s better than not having any evidence at all. There’s always the ERs, which that can cost thousands of dollars so we would recommend going to a lower cost place rather than incurring so much debt to go to an ER.
Cindy Speaker: Okay. Once again, you guys are a great resource because you know all these other resources and things like that. Along those lines, if someone has questions about these issues, how can they reach your office, Winslow?
Winslow Butts: They can call our main number, is 251-343-1111 or just go to our website, it’s GardbergLaw.com.
Cindy Speaker: Okay. Once again, thanks for being with us today.
Winslow Butts: Thank you, thank you for having me.
Cindy Speaker: Appreciate it. To all of you that are watching right now, you can just put your comments on this page, we’ll make sure somebody gets back to you, answers your questions. Thanks everybody for being with us. Bye now.