Medical Evidence for Social Security Disability

Every decision in Social Security Disability (SSD) and SSI matters is based on a claimant's medical records, and what they say about his or her ability to work (or not). Because medical records are critical to the outcome of disability cases, some applicants make the mistake of sending in far too much information in an effort to bolster their claims. This is not at all helpful, because it makes the disability examiner or judge's job that much harder'sifting through a pile of records looking for acceptable medical evidence is both frustrating and time-consuming, when the ideal here is for the claimant to be as helpful as possible in providing a picture of his impairment and functional limitations.

Of course, some if not most people filing for disability don't really know what types of medical documentation Social Security is looking for, so they figure they'll throw in everything but the kitchen sink to be on the safe side, unaware that they are wasting everyone's time and probably delaying a decision in their case.

When submitting medical records for a disability examiner or judge to review, it's best to send in only medical records signed by a physician or psychologist. Medical opinions from nurses, chiropractors, acupuncturists, homeopaths, etc., are not considered acceptable medical evidence. X-ray films or other test results are not useful unless they are accompanied by a report and an interpretation--disability examiners and judges are not physicians, and do not know how to read these tests.

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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