Filing for social security disability benefits means providing evidence that you have a disability.
When applying for social security disability benefits, it is now more important than ever to remember that the Social Security Administration (SSA) uses not just your doctor's opinion, but many sources of evidence to determine whether your impairments meet their requirements for disability.
To make that determination, SSA considers ALL available evidence in your case record. This includes:
Medical evidence from acceptable medical sources
Other evidence from medical sources
Statements by yourself and others about the impairments
Information from other non-medical sources
Decisions by other governmental and nongovernmental agencies
These different forms of evidence, however, are not given the same weight by SSA when they determine whether to award you benefits.
The following is a handy guide to the Top Ten Evidence Sources that can help you win your claim.
The Top Five - Acceptable Medical Sources
Only "acceptable" medical sources can give medical opinions - these are statements about the nature and severity of your impairments. Here are the top five acceptable medical sources, whose opinions will be given the most consideration by the SSA:
1. Licensed physicians
2. Licensed or certified psychologists
3. Licensed optometrists
4. Licensed podiatrists
5. Qualified speech-language pathologists
The Bottom Five - Other Sources
The SSA may also consider evidence from other sources to determine the severity of your impairments and how they affect your ability to function. These sources can include medical and non-medical sources, including:
6. Nurse practitioners, therapists, and physician assistants
8. Social workers and public/private social welfare agency personnel
9. Educational personnel
10. Rehabilitation counselors
While evidence from these sources cannot be used to establish the existence of a medically-determinable impairment, they are still important for your case! They can provide insight into the severity of your impairment, and how it affects both your daily life and your ability to function in the workplace.
Finally, don't forget one of the most important non-medical sources - your friends, family and caregivers. Their opinions can be very helpful in showing how your disability affects you every day, at home and at work.
Ultimately, SSA decides how much weight each of the sources of evidence will receive, and there is no set "scale" to use. SSA will consider the facts of your case, the individual source, the evidence provided, and other factors when determining the issue. All available relevant evidence will be considered, both from "acceptable" medical sources and "other" sources.
It is up to you, however, to make sure that the SSA has the evidence it needs to make a positive ruling on your claim. Experienced attorneys can help in compiling the often-extensive evidence, and creating a file that the SSA will use to determine whether or not you receive your social security disability benefits.
Disability Group Inc was founded on the principles of dignity and respect. We are a national law firm focused exclusively on helping people receive the Social Security Disability benefits they deserve. Visit us at www.socialsecuritylaw.com