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Evidentiary Requirements During Your Disability Evaluation

To qualify for Social Security Disability benefits, you must be determined to be disabled. If you’ve submitted a Social Security Disability claim, you may be wondering what evidence is required during the process of evaluating your disability.

Your disability evaluation relies almost entirely on medical evidence related to your impairment. This evidence usually comes from medical professional who treated you. Evidence is only valid if it comes from an acceptable medical source. Generally, an acceptable medical source is a licensed physician, and in cases involving specific types of impairment, medical professionals licensed specifically in that field are also considered acceptable medical sources.

The Social Security Administration (SSA) looks at the following medical reports from acceptable medical sources:

  • Treating sources. The SSA regulations place special emphasis on medical reports from the medical professionals who are treating you, since they have likely examined you over time.
  • Health facilities. If you’ve been seen by a hospital, clinic or other health facility, medical reports from such facilities are also considered.

Medical reports should be timely, accurate and detailed. In addition to your medical history and any clinical findings and lab test results, they should contain information regarding your diagnosis and treatment and a statement about what activities and functions are still within your ability despite your impairment. Detailed information about the symptoms you are experiencing is also important.

If the available medical evidence is found to be inadequate, a consultative examination may be ordered. This is typically done with the physician who is treating you.

In addition to medical sources, the SSA looks at evidence from other sources, such as schools, social workers and employers, to determine how your disability is affecting your ability to function in daily life.

The determination that you have a disability is a vital element of a successful Social Security Disability claim. Filing a claim can be stressful. Contact an experienced Tennessee Social Security disability claim attorney to help you through the process.

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