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Why won’t my doctor put me on disability?
Q: My back has been hurting me for the past few weeks, and I find it hard to work. I asked my doctor to put me on disability, but she refused. She told me I have to see a specialist before I’m eligible. I’m only 22 weeks pregnant and know there’s no way I can continue working. I’m mad at my doctor and want your opinion.
A: You’re quite early in your pregnancy to have such back pain. I agree with your doctor’s recommendation to see a specialist. I assume she’d like you to see an orthopedic doctor, who will try to figure out what is triggering your pain and suggest ways to help you feel better.

You may be a candidate for physical therapy. A physical therapist can work with you to ease the pain. Be it exercise, a maternity belt, a back support in your chair or modifying your workspace or activities, there are many ways to feel better.

Disability is an extreme solution to your complaints. You must realise that physicians can’t just write a note and get you out of work. You must go through the proper channels first. Otherwise, your request for disability will be turned down. You need to remember that all disability requests are reviewed. The reviewers have set criteria they use to evaluate claims. If you fail to meet the eligibility requirements, you can be turned down.

This is an important issue that all pregnant women must understand. Pregnancy is not considered a disability at most companies. You need to speak with someone in your workplace’s human resource department, or check with your state department of insurance to see what constitutes “maternity disability” in your jurisdiction.

Craig L. Bissinger M.D.