17 Jan Establishing Proof for Social Security Disability Benefits
One of the necessary prerequisites to building a successful claim for Social Security disability benefits is establishing that you in fact have a medical disability. Specifically, any person who files a disability claim must produce “acceptable medical evidence” that supports that establishes proof of a disability and indicates the severity of that disability. Typically, the proof to support social security disability benefits claims is supported by documentation issued by a licensed medical provider that has previously treated the claimant specifically for their disability. However, with that broad idea in mind, claimants often have difficulty figuring out what evidence they will need to support their claim.
What is Likely Not Sufficient Evidence?
A mere note from your doctor likely is not sufficient without additional supporting facts or descriptions. The Social Security Administration has made it clear that a claimant’s application must have specific reasons for a disability prior to determining that benefits should be granted. Additionally, a claimant should have reports from someone who has an “ongoing treatment relationship” with them appended to their application, rather than someone they have only sought treatment with one time. If a claimant only has reports from professionals who have had a limited history with them, such as a chiropractor, they will have a reduced chance of having their claim approved.
What is “Acceptable Medical Evidence”?
There are several pieces of evidence that will strengthen a claimant’s application that likely constitute “acceptable medical evidence” for purposes of a disability benefits application:
Reports from a Licensed Medical Professional: This includes licensed physicians, licensed psychologists, licensed optometrists (for a visual disability), licensed podiatrists (for foot impairments), or qualified speech pathologists (for establishing a speech impairment). These reports should be extensive, including but not limited to:
- The claimant’s medical history
- Diagnosis for the disability
- Any clinical findings made by the professional
- Any lab results
- Any prescribed treatment
- A description of how the disability has impaired the claimant’s routine activities
- The nature of the pain caused by the disability
Reports from Treatment Sources: The SSA specifically grants greater weight to reports from professionals who help treat the claimant’s disability. The reasoning behind this is that the SSA believes the professionals who treat the claimant likely have the best idea of the prognosis and trajectory for that particular disability. If possible, these reports should be from within the previous few months to ensure an accurate picture of the state of the claimant’s disability.
Get Help From an SSDI Attorney
Social Security disability benefits claimants should work to support their applications with “acceptable medical evidence.” Specifically, claimants should have reports from licensed medical professionals who can write a report on the extent and duration of the claimant’s impairment. When completing your disability benefits application, a benefits attorney can help with application and evaluate its merits for benefits. The experienced attorneys at Klok Law Firm LLC in Mt. Pleasant, SC can help you achieve the disability benefits you are entitled to receive.
Contact us today for a free consultation.