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Not all evidence for a Social Security Disability case is helpful
As a disability examiner for social security administration, I would occasionally be sent huge packets of information by claimants that were, for lack of a better phrase, not especially useful.
This was often an attempt on the part of the claimant to supply additional information in support of their claim, including medical records. Which was admirable because, ideally, a claim will be best served when the adjudicator (a disability examiner or a disability judge, depending on what level the claim is at) is given as much information as possible, particularly medical record documentation.
However, not all documentation that a claimant might consider useful medical evidence...actually is. Here's a short of what is and what is not useful.
1. Admission and Discharge summaries from hospitals. Definitely useful.
2. Nurses notes from a hospital. Not useful at all.
3. Treatment notes from a claimant's doctor, or treating physician. Very useful.
4. Chiropractor records. I know some people swear by the services rendered to them by their chiropractor; however, social security does not consider chiropractors to be medical treatment sources and so their records are not considered medical evidence. If you send in records from your chiropractor, how will they be viewed? They won't be read at all, most likely, unless an xray report is also included.
5. Xray films. Not useful. Why? Because a disability examiner or a social security disability judge is not a medical professional. Neither individual is qualified to interpret a raw film.
6. An xray report with the interpretation of the xray film. Useful.
7. Printouts from your pharmacy. Not useful.
By all means, if you apply for social security disability, send in whatever medical records you have, and always notify social security regarding doctors and hospitals that have provided treatment, and sources of treatment that they may not be aware of. However, keep in mind that not everything printed on paper actually constitutes medical evidence.
How can you distinguish between the two? There are two ways. First of all, for social security administration purposes, medical evidence is that which has at its source a medical doctor (chiropractors and homeopaths are out, and nurse's notes are not useful).
Secondly, useful medical evidence is that which actually says something about a claimant's residual functional capacity, i.e. their remaining ability to work. How this translates on paper is this: records should ideally state A) a claimant's limitations in terms of muscle strength, range of motion, and ability to persist in certain actions such as sitting, walking, etc, and B) should offer a prognosis regarding the claimant's diagnosis and functional capacity.
Return to: Social Security Disability Resource Center, or read answers to Questions
Changing disability attorneys
Social Security Disability SSI and how severe a medical condition must be
Social Security Disability hearing, vocational expert, judge
The amount of back pay that you receive
If You Get Social Security Disability or SSI, Will Your Dependents Get A Check?
How to file for disability in New Mexico
What medical conditions get you approved for disability?
Social Security Disability qualifications
How to claim disability benefits
Filing for disability with arthritis, osteoarthritis
Should you get a Disability Lawyer before you File
How to file for disability, tips to start
Winning Social Security Disability Benefits For Mental Disorders
How to file for disability in Missouri
Filing for disability with aspergers
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
What mental problems qualify for disability?
SSI disability status
How to prove you qualify for disability
Qualifying for disability eligibility requirements
How Does Social Security Decide If You Are Disabled
How much does disability pay?
Factors involved in Winning SSDI or SSI Claims
Applying for disability with Degenerative Disc Disease
How long to get a Social Security decision letter?
What Does Social Security Consider To Be a Disability?
The amount of back pay that you receive
Social Security medical disability determination process
If You Get Approved For SSDI Will You Also Get Medicare?
How long can you receive SSI or Social Security disability benefits?
How Long Does A Social Security Disability Appeal Take?
How Long Does It Take To Get Disability Benefits When You First File?
Can you work if you get SSI disability?
Social Security Disability attorney fees
Am I eligible to receive disability benefits?
What are the non medical requirements for disability
How to get SSI
Approved for disability benefits
SSD SSI disability hearing decision