What Does Social Security Disability Need From Me to Make A Medical Determination?

Social Security requires a list of your medical sources (i.e. hospital records, treating physician records, mental health records, etc.) and your work history (which includes all of types of work that you have performed three months or longer in the last fifteen years).

So how do you provide all of this information to Social Security? When you file your disability application with Social Security, a Social Security claims representative will ask questions about your medical treatment sources and your work history.


1. How long does it take to be approved for SSI or Social Security Disability?
2. How to find out if a disability claim has been approved or denied
3. The Decision on Social Security Disability or SSI
4. What kind of Final Decision can I receive on my Disability Application?

What are acceptable medical sources for the purpose of a Social Security Disability application? Acceptable medical treatment sources generally include licensed medical professionals including physicians, psychologists, optometrists, osteopaths, ophthalmologists, or other licensed medical professionals.

Social Security does not consider chiropractors an acceptable medical source, however Social Security will consider any objective medical information contained in chiropractic medical treatment notes. For example, if your chiropractic treatment notes contain x rays of your knees or spine, the disability examiner may use these to help make the medical disability determination.

You may even be pondering why your work history is so important to the Social Security Disability process? To explain the importance of work activity to the Social Security Disability process, you first need to know the definition of Social Security Disability.

Social Security law states that disability is the inability to perform any substantial work activity (each year Social Security sets a monthly earnings limit known as the SGA amount) due to a medically determinable condition, either mental or physical, that may possibly end in death, and that has lasted for the past twelve months or is expected to last twelve months.

As you can see, work history is second only to medical source information when making a Social Security Disability medical determination. Social Security must first evaluate whether you can perform any of your past work, if you cannot perform past work then they must consider if you are capable of performing any other work given the limitations that your condition or conditions impose upon you. Social Security needs information about your medical and/or mental conditions, as well as information about your work activity over the past fifteen years to make a medical determination.

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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