Medical source and evidence requirements for SSDI claims

When people apply for Social Security Disability benefits following an injury or illness, the Social Security Administration will need evidence that the person has really been disabled. In order to meet the strict definition of a disability, which this blog discussed in a previous post, set by the SSA, extensive evidence is required. Without this evidence, people may not be approved for SSD benefits.

Under the SSA’s rules evidence of a person’s disability must come from “acceptable medical sources.” These sources include qualified speech-language pathologists, licensed optometrists, certified psychologists, licensed podiatrists and licensed physicians.

These individuals can be asked for a variety of information including their diagnosis of the individual’s problem and their treatment plan for the particular person. The person’s medical history might also be requested. Additionally, test results — including x-rays — clinical findings and other examinations might also be submitted to the SSA. The SSA may also ask the acceptable medical source to provide a statement describing the person’s ability to work. This statement can include details about the person’s ability to follow instructions, communicate, handle objects, walk, stand or lift. If the person is a child, the statement’s focus is not work related, but related to the child’s ability to function in a manner appropriate with the child’s age.

The SSA will also consider evidence of disability from other sources. This can include information for social services, employers, childcare providers and teachers. Other healthcare workers — like audiologists or chiropractors — can also submit evidence of disability.

When trying to prove a disability, people should consult with an attorney. An attorney can help people to better understand the types and amount of evidence that is required for a successful claim.