Q I was denied Social Security disability benefits because of problems with my medical evidence. What do I do now?
You will not qualify for Social Security disability benefits unless you can prove that you are disabled. This requires complete, correct, and current medical evidence that you can present with your application to the Social Security Administration (SSA).
What Must Your Medical Evidence Prove?
As a Social Security disability applicant, it is your responsibility to provide medical evidence that proves that:
- You have one or more health impairments. You must prove that you have a health impairment by providing objective medical evidence from an acceptable medical source.
- The severity of your impairment qualifies you for Social Security disability benefits. After you prove that you have a health impairment, then the SSA will look at medical evidence (and non-medical evidence) to determine how the impairment impacts your ability to work.
Who Can Provide Medical Evidence?
You should provide all of your medical records from all of the medical providers who have seen you for the condition for which you are seeking benefits. Acceptable medical sources include:
- Hospitals, clinics, or other health facilities where you have been treated—even if only for a brief time.
- Medical or osteopathic licensed physicians.
- Licensed or certified psychologists.
- Licensed optometrists who can prove that you have a qualifying visual disorder.
- Licensed podiatrists.
- Speech-language pathologists who are qualified to establish a speech or language impairment.
While you may provide the information yourself, the SSA will also help you get the medical reports you need from your own medical providers.
The Social Security Administration guidelines refer to “treating sources.” These are medical professionals who have treated you for some length of time and who are likely to be able to provide medical evidence that shows the history, severity, and future prognosis of your impairment.
Treating sources are considered to be strong advocates for you and may provide useful medical evidence to the Social Security Administration. Therefore, if you have a medical provider who can be considered a treating source, then it may improve your chances of receiving Social Security disability benefits.
What Kinds of Medical Evidence Do You Have to Provide?
You must provide enough medical evidence to prove that you are unable to work; otherwise, the SSA will deny your application. Generally, this includes the following types of evidence from the professionals described above:
- A complete record of all the medical treatment you have received in connection with your condition.
- A medical determination that you cannot work as a direct result of your medical condition.
- A medical opinion that you will not be able to work for at least 12 months or that your condition will result in death.
- A detailed account of your treatment plan and evidence that you are following that treatment plan. You are expected to follow your doctor’s orders for treating your condition. You should be taking the medicine that you are prescribed and participating in any recommended physical therapy.
The SSA will also be looking to see if you are keeping all of your scheduled medical appointments.
If the Social Security Administration determines that the medical evidence that you have provided is insufficient, then the agency may request a consultative examination, or it may deny your application.
Don’t Give Up If Your Social Security Disability Application Has Been Denied
One of the main reasons Social Security disability claims are denied is because of a lack of medical evidence. Even if you think that you are providing full and accurate records to the Social Security Administration, you may not be providing everything that the agency requires because the requirements are complicated and often confusing.
An experienced Social Security disability lawyer can help you sort out the many pieces of evidence that you need, help you get the necessary paperwork you do not already have, and help you get the benefits that you deserve by filing the right kind of appeal. Contact our experienced attorneys today via this website or by phone to schedule an initial consultation about your rights.