How to Get Medical Evidence for Social Security Disability Benefits

Medical Evidence for Social Security Disability Benefits

The Social Security Administration has a strict definition of disability they use when reviewing every benefits application. To get your claim approved, you’ll need to gather strong medical evidence for Social Security disability benefits. This documentation from your doctor or specialist must prove your mental or physical condition keeps you from working for one full year.

Aside from the application itself, you’ll need thorough medical evidence for Social Security disability benefits approval. These documents help prove your condition is real and that you’re truly too disabled to support yourself working full-time. For illnesses on the SSA Compassionate Allowances List (CAL), it’s easier to get your disability claim approved. That’s because the SSA has a specific set of criteria you must meet for each CAL condition. If your ailment isn’t listed, you must prove it’s similar enough to one that meets the SSA’s definition of a disability to get your claim approved.

Medical Evidence Is Necessary to Prove Your Case

According to the SSA, “medical evidence is the cornerstone of the disability determination.” So, it’s crucial for you to collect as much solid medical evidence for Social Security disability benefits as possible. You are personally responsible for providing sufficient medical evidence proving that you’re too disabled to work for 12 continuous months. That said, if you give the agency permission, the SSA will petition your doctors directly for copies of your medical records. Be aware that if you choose this option, your claims review process may take much longer than if you provided those documents yourself.

What Healthcare Providers Give You the Best Possible Medical Evidence for Social Security Disability Benefits?

Medical evidence must come from acceptable medical sources, as defined by the SSA. This list includes:

  • Licensed or certified psychologists, including school psychologists
  • Licensed physicians (medical or osteopathic)
  • Licensed podiatrists
  • Licensed optometrists
  • Qualified speech-language pathologists

Here are some examples of acceptable, useful documents to submit with your claim as medical evidence for Social Security disability benefits:

1. Accurate, Thorough Medical Records

These records provide a correct description of your disability that meet the standards for acceptable medical sources. For example, while a chiropractor can submit a description of your slipped disc, it’s not considered “acceptable” because chiropractors are not medical doctors.

2. Timely Medical Evidence Is Important

You want to submit records that are recent and relevant to your current condition. If your ailment changes frequently, submit the most up-to-date information possible. In fact, the SSA prefers medical records covering your last six months of treatment. Anything more than that you should keep for now just in case you have to appeal.

3. Sufficient Evidence That Comes From Acceptable Medical Sources

You’ll also want to make sure that your records contain enough information from acceptable medical sources. Double-check everything to ensure the data provided is accurate. This is one major source your Social Security Disability claims examiner uses to approve or deny your benefits application. To ensure yours is sufficient, you should submit your medical history, lab results, clinical findings, diagnoses, prior treatments and a statement from your treating physician.

Get Personalized Advice About Your Medical Evidence for Social Security Benefits

Because this is such a tricky issue, consider talking to an experienced disability advocate about your claim. Social Security attorneys won’t charge you for this consultation, nor will a disability advocate. Someone who deals with other disability cases just like yours all the time can tell you exactly how to collect and submit your medical evidence for Social Security benefits.

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