How do you talk to your doctor about disability?

You've made the decision that you need to file for long-term disability -- and it hasn't been easy. Like many other people facing a similar decision, one of the hardest things to do seems to be having a very necessary discussion with your doctor to get their support.

Here's how to start:

1. Understand why your doctor hasn't told you to quit working

Sometimes, people feel like they aren't really disabled unless the doctor tells them they're disabled. They wait, endlessly wondering just how sick is "sick enough" to stop working -- but the doctor never says.

That's because your doctor can't make the decision to quit working for you. In fact, your doctor may be afraid that telling you you shouldn't work could make you dispirited.

2. Make an appointment specifically for this purpose

Don't try to mash such an important discussion into the last few minutes of a regular appointment. Call the office and schedule a brief appointment just to discuss the issue and tell your doctor that you need their support in the future. This way, you'll have your doctor's full attention and neither of you can get sidetracked.

3. Rehearse what you want to say ahead of time

This doesn't have to complicated or long. Remember, your doctor has likely watched your condition deteriorate over time. They're aware that you're struggling. You can simply say, "I have realized that I can't continue working right now. I hope to get better some day, but the physical and emotional strain on my body is too much to handle. I hope I have your support."

Applications for long-term disability insurance often get delayed and denied purposefully by the insurance company -- so having your doctor's conscious support is important.

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