Understanding the elements of evidentiary requirements

In our last blog post, we explored a case of a woman who had successfully appealed her denied claim for disability benefits. Her application for disability benefits, as we discussed in that post, was originally denied because the Social Security Administration did not believe she had proved that her conditions were severe enough to qualify as disabling.

Providing evidence to support your claim for disability benefits is an essential element of any application or appeal. Even if you think your symptoms and limitations seem obviously disabling, you will need to provide adequate medical evidence with your application for SSDI to support your claims.

The medical evidence you must provide is much more extensive than, say, a doctor’s note affirming the diagnosis of your condition. According to the SSAs evidentiary requirements, medical documentation must be from a licensed physician, psychologist, optometrist, podiatrist, pathologist or other qualified medical professional.

You must also provide documentation that you have been receiving or have received treatment at an appropriate medical facility.

In addition to the evidence proving that you have the conditions you claim, you must also submit information supporting the severity of your condition. You may need to have your doctor submit a report on your condition and how your abilities as an individual are or will be affected.

You may also need to describe in detail how your condition affects your daily life. In the case we discussed in our last blog, the woman’s claim was denied because she failed to convince the SSA that her conditions were severe enough to qualify as disabling. Your own statements can be more powerful than you may realize so it will be crucial to be prepared.

It is not enough to just prove that you have a specific condition; you must also prove that it is severe and limits your ability to perform the functions of your job and similar positions

This whole process can turn out to be much more complicated and comprehensive than you are prepared to handle alone. This is why many people work with an attorney who is familiar with Social Security and the disability benefits system in the pursuit of benefits.