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Recent Questions

SSDRC Disability Blog

Can a treatment Counselor's opinion help my disability claim?




 
I have talked to someone (he wrote a referral for Zoloft) but the last time I saw him he told me he was just a counselor. Would the word of a counselor, who volunteers at a free clinic, be of any use to my claim?



Any information potentially helps, yes, but SSA gives consideration to "medical evidence". This is why chiropractors records are not obtained since they are not medical professionals (though chiropractors do perform valuable services for many people with musculoskeletal issues). Nurses notes are also not usually obtained.

That said, sometimes records from treatment counselors are obtained even if they are not medical professionals per se. Some counselors hold advanced degrees and some hold bachelor's.

Ideally, however, SSA prefers that records have the signature of a licensed physician. But, as I said, that does not mean that evidence that is not signed off by a physician has no value.

I would say for a disability claim based on mental health, the more information the better. In fact, a counselor may be more likely to provide information about a person's daily activities and functional limitations than an MD or Ph.D.-level pyschologist.








Return to:  Social Security Disability Resource Center, or read answers to Questions








Related pages:

Social Security Disability SSI: Medical Evidence
Social Security Disability and SSI Mental Claims and Criteria
Social Security’s evaluation of mental disorders
What makes you eligible to qualify for disability?
The jobs that you might have done in the past fifteen years


Information on the following topics can be found here: Social Security Disability Questions and in these subsections:

Frequently asked questions about getting Denied for Disability Benefits | FAQ on Disability Claim Representation | Info about Social Security Disability Approvals and Being Approved | FAQ on Social Security Disability SSI decisions | The SSD SSI Decision Process and what gets taken into consideration | Disability hearings before Judges | Medical exams for disability claims | Applying for Disability in various states | Selecting and hiring Disability Lawyers | Applying for Disability in North Carolina | Recent articles and answers to questions about SSD and SSI


These pages provide answers to basic questions about pursuing disability benefits

Receiving a Social Security Disability Award Letter
What Can I Do to Improve My Chances of Winning Disability Benefits?
How do you find out if a Social Security disability claim has been approved or even denied?
Can I Qualify For Disability and Receive Benefits based on Depression?
How much does Social Security Disability or SSI pay?
How does the Social Security Disability Review work?
What is the difference between Social Security Disability and SSI?
More differences between Social Security Disability and SSI