Medical Evidence of Your DisabilityPart I: Sources
Medical evidence is the cornerstone for Social Securitys determination of your disability. A qualified Social Security Disability lawyer can explain how the benefits process works and save you time and effort.
Each person who files a disability claim is responsible for providing medical evidence showing that he or she has an impairment and how severe that impairment is. It is always best for your doctor to provide detailed records of your condition, along with an explanation of how it limits your ability to work or perform everyday tasks.
The medical evidence can also come from other acceptable medical sources depending on what condition has caused your impairment.
Acceptable Medical Sources
The Social Security Administration (SSA) defines acceptable medical sources as medical professionals including:
- licensed physicians (doctors)
- licensed or certified psychologists. Included are school psychologists or other licensed or certified individuals with other titles who perform the same function as a school psychologist in a school setting, for purposes of establishing mental retardation, learning disabilities and borderline intellectual functioning only.
- licensed optometrists, for purposes of establishing visual disorders only (except, in the U.S. Virgin Islands, licensed optometrists, for the measurement of visual acuity and visual fields only)
- licensed podiatrists, for purposes of establishing impairments of the foot, or foot and ankle, depending on whether the state in which the podiatrist practices permits the practice of podiatry on the foot only, or the foot and ankle
- qualified speech-language pathologists, for purposes of establishing speech or language impairments only. For this source, qualified means that the speech-language pathologist must be licensed by the state professional licensing agency, or be fully certified by the state education agency in the state in which he or she practices, or hold a Certificate of Clinical Competence from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.
Evidence from Treating Sources
SSA regulations place special emphasis on evidence from treating sources because they are likely to be the medical professionals most able to provide a detailed assessment of the claimants impairment and may bring a unique perspective to the medical evidence. Timely and accurate reports from treating sources are essential for accelerating the claims process.
Medical Evidence From Health Facilities
Social Security will also request copies of medical evidence from hospitals, clinics or other health facilities where you have been treated. All medical reports received are considered during the disability determination process.
Information from other sources may also help show the extent to which a persons impairment affects his or her ability to function in a work setting; or in the case of a child, the ability to function compared to that of children the same age who do not have impairments. Other sources can include: public and private agencies; non?medical sources such as schools, parents and caregivers, social workers and employers; and other practitioners such as naturopaths, chiropractors and audiologists.