Social Security Disability SSI and Chiropractors records, evidence

I just thought I would mention this since I am sure 99 percent of all applicants for Social Security Disability or SSI are not aware of the fact. If you have a severe back condition (degenerative disc disease, arthritis, scoliosis, etc) and this forms the basis or partial basis for your claim, make sure you understand that records from a chiropractor are NOT considered medical evidence---not by disability examiners and not by administrative law judges.

Chiropractic medicine helps alleviate the pain of many thousands of patients. However, chiropractors are not considered medical treatment sources by the social security administration and their records are not used in deciding Social Security Disability and SSI disability cases.

Tip: if you have back problems and are receiving treatment only from a chiropractor, you should, for the benefit of your case, consider seeking treatment from an M.D., possibly an orthopedist, and, perhaps, a pain specialist if you have ongoing and debilitating levels of pain.

Valid medical records

Medical records from hospitals, clinics, etc., by contrast, are valid forms of documentation, provided that the individual signing off on any reports from these treatment sources is considered to be acceptable. Social Security recognizes the medical opinions of licensed MDs, DOs (osteopaths), psychologists and optometrists. It does not give any weight to the opinions of chiropractors, although a disability examiner may review any x-rays or other medical tests ordered by chiropractors before making a decision.

I am not knocking chiropractic and chiropractors in the least. I went to a chiropractor once and it didn't help. I went to a different chiropractor afterward and it seemed to do me a substantial amount of good. I also know individuals who also seem to benefit from their type of therapy.

However, because chiropractors are not licensed medical doctors, their notes are useless and not usable for the purpose of evaluating a disability claim. So, if you file an ssd or ssi claim, make sure you have records from an internist (general practitioner) or orthopedist. The xrays from a chiropractor may be gathered by social security, but that's as much use as a chiropractor's records will be.

About the Author: Tim Moore is a former Social Security Disability Examiner in North Carolina, has been interviewed by the NY Times and the LA Times on the disability system, and is an Accredited Disability Representative (ADR) in North Carolina. For assistance on a disability application or Appeal in NC, click here.

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