How to file for disability, Filing for SSI
Disability Requirements, Disability Status
How long is the wait?, Disability Application
The Social Security List of Impairments
Qualifying for Disability, Mental Disability
Disability Lawyer Info, Disability Back Pay

Proving a Social Security Disability Case Often Means Getting a Statement from Your Doctor

After a Social Security Disability or SSI disability claim is taken at a social security field office, it is transferred to disability determination services where it is assigned to a disability examiner.

As the first step in the processing of the disability claim, the examiner will send out requests for the claimant's medical records. The wait for records may take weeks or sometimes even months, but at some point, the records will be received and the case can be evaluated.

The information contained in the records will be used to ascertain in what manner and to what degree the claimant is physically or mentally limited. And reaching these conclusions will be reflected in the physical residual functional capacity rating or mental residual functional capacity rating that is given to the claimant.

For adults, these ratings will be compared to the type of work the claimant did in the past and will allow the disability examiner to determine if the claimant can go back to a prior job or do some type of other work; for children, a rating can be used to determine if the child's condition prevents them from staying on pace in age-appropriate activities such as academic school work.

Ultimately, of course, what the medical records have to say about the individual's condition will determine whether or not the case is approved. How much information does the disability examiner need from the medical records to reach a decision, or to approve the case?

Why doctor statements are necessary

To approve a disability case, the examiner will need to be able to find sufficient information in the claimant's records to show that their current physical and/or mental limitations will not allow them to engage in work activity at a substantial and gainful activity level.

This can be difficult very often due to the fact that most doctors do not record information in their treatment notes as to what a person's limitations might be (such as difficulty with short-term memory, or difficulty with lifting more than a certain amount of weight, or difficulty grasping objects, etc).

And it is for this reason that a disability lawyer, after a case has reached the social security hearing level, will attempt to obtain a medical source statement from a claimant's doctor that conclusively specifies in what ways the claimant is limited.

Such statements tend to be very effective with disability judges at hearings, assuming that the statement is supported by the bulk of the medical evidence and that it also indicates limitations that rule out substantial and gainful work activity.

Essential Questions

What is the Social Security Disability SSI list of impairments?

Can you work while getting or applying for Disability?

How Often Does Social Security Approve Disability The First Time You Apply?

Tips for getting Social Security Disability or SSI benefits approved

What medical conditions will get you approved for disability?

What kind of Mental Problems Qualify for Disability?

Receiving a Disability Award Letter

Conditions Social Security will recognize as a disability

Previously answered questions regarding SSD and SSI

Applying for disability in your state

Most popular topics on SSDRC.com

Social Security Disability SSI Questions

The listings, list of disabling impairments

Can a mental illness qualify you for disability?

Disability Lawyers prevent unnecessary denials

How much Social Security Disability SSI back pay?

How to apply for disability for a child or children

Filing a Social Security Disability SSI application

Filing for disability - when to file

How to apply for disability - where to apply

Qualifications for disability benefits

How to Prove you are disabled and Win your Disability Benefits

Qualifying for Disability - The Process

How to get disability for depression

Getting disability for fibromyalgia

SSI disability for children with ADHD

What is the Application Process for Social Security Disability and SSI?

Common Mistakes to avoid after being denied for Disability

Social Security Disability SSI Exam tips

More Social Security Disability SSI Questions

Social Security Disability SSI definitions

What makes you eligible for Social Security Disability or SSI?

New and featured pages on SSDRC.com

Who can help me file for disability?

Related pages:

Proving a Social Security Disability Case Often Means Getting a Statement from Your Doctor
What Can I Do to Improve My Chances of Winning Disability Benefits?
Proving Functional Limitations and why this is Important on a Disability Case
What do you Need to Prove to Qualify for Disability Benefits?
Proving the requirements for disability in North Carolina
How do you Win Benefits under Social Security Disability or SSI?
Is it possible that I will lose my disability benefits when my case is being reviewed?
Getting a Disability Lawyer in New York
If you apply for disability in New York
Will I qualify for disability Benefits in New York

These pages answer some of the most basic questions for individuals who are considering filing a claim.

Can you get temporary Social Security Disability or SSI benefits?

Permanent Social Security Disability

What is the difference between Social Security Disability and SSI?

Who is eligible for SSI disability?

Can I Be Eligible For SSI And Social Security Disability At The Same Time?

What makes a person eligible to receive disability benefits?

Applying for Disability - How long does it take to get Social Security Disability or SSI benefits?

What happens if I file a disability application and it is denied by a disability examiner or Judge?

For the sake of clarity, SSDRC.com is not the Social Security Administration, nor is it associated or affiliated with SSA. This site is a personal, private website that is published, edited, and maintained by former caseworker and former disability claims examiner, Tim Moore, who was interviewed by the New York Times on the topic of Social Security Disability and SSI benefits in an article entitled "The Disability Mess" and also by the Los Angeles Times on the subject of political attempts to weaken the Social Security Disability system.

The goal of the site is to provide information about how Social Security Disability and SSI work, the idea being that qualified information may help claimants pursue their claims and appeals, potentially avoiding time-consuming mistakes. If you find the information on this site helpful and believe it would be helpful to others, feel free to share links to its homepage or other pages on website resource pages, blogs, or social media. Copying of this material, however, is prohibited.

To learn more about the author, please visit the SSDRC.com homepage and view the "about this site" link near the bottom of the page.