Medical Evidence Needed When Filing for Disability
Medical evidence needed to qualify for disability varies depending on a person’s medical condition. The Social Security Administration (SSA) uses a medical guide to evaluate conditions and award benefits accordingly. The evidence can take many forms, such as physical examinations, treatment notes, and reports of imaging studies.
One of the most essential pieces of medical evidence is treatment records from acceptable medical sources, which include:
- Physician assistants
- Licensed podiatrists, physicians, or optometrists
- Advanced practice registered nurses
- Certified or licensed psychologists
- Qualified speech-language pathologists
People should provide a complete record of the treatment they have received in connection with their condition. The SSA will want to see a treatment plan and evidence of a patient following the doctor’s orders for treating his or her condition.
Results of X-rays, MRIs, blood work and any other laboratory findings and test results are also useful. The SSA requires specific tests for certain conditions. For example, heart disease and liver disease will require medical examinations to show low organ function. It is crucial for people to know if there are any specific tests that the SSA requires for their condition.
Evidence of Limitations
SSA also considers evidence of how people’s symptoms affect their ability to function. A doctor can provide a statement expressing his or her opinion about a person’s limitations based on medical examinations. If the doctor asks for an official form to fill such information out, an RFC (Residual Functional Capacity) form is ideal. The more specific a doctor is about a patient’s limitations, the better the chances of the patient’s claim being approved.
Records from Other Sources
Records from any physiotherapy or rehabilitation treatments that a person may have received, as well as information from employers, social workers and schools (in the case of children), can help. Although they do not carry as much weight as medical records from the accepted sources, they can help show the effects of a person’s disability on everyday functioning.
The more medical evidence applicants can present, and the more accurate the evidence is, the more likely their claims will be approved. Successful benefit claims require a lot of records and paperwork. Social security lawyers can help applicants get approved for disability benefits.
Lawyers help people gather sufficient evidence needed to develop winning claims. They can also identify problems with the evidence, such as an unclear statement from a doctor.