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Medical Evidence and Your Disability Evaluation

May 5, 2020

What are your symptoms? How severe are they? Are you in pain? Do you experience shortness of breath? Are you not able to walk due to joint pain? What about neurocognitive issues? This is all medical evidence that is the foundation of your disability determination when applying for disability benefits. Over the course of review, and it is all-inclusive, Social Security will evaluate your claim based on your medical treatment record. With your permission, the Administration will request your inclusive medical record from all your providers, including hospital or clinic records, and review your medical evidence concerning your impairment(s). You will be doing the Administration a huge favor by having your records timely delivered to them, and it may assist in your case proceeding smoother and easier.

Your doctor may have diagnosed and determined your condition medically, but to be eligible for disability, the definition of a disability per the Social Security Administration is a legal one.

Your treatment record should contain precise and detailed “objective medical evidence” from your doctor, clinic or hospital establishing your impairment. The Administration can also decide to include other sources in their decision based on statements from family members, friends, neighbors and clergy to name a few.

Should you be in a position where you've submitted all of your medical records to Social Security and there is an updated source of medical treatment, it is your responsibility to provide this to the Administration while your file is under review.

Social Security looks at how severe the impairment is and what kind of impairment you have. For example, would the condition fall under the Compassionate Allowances Category, or is it one listed under the regular medical listings?

A complete review will be conducted of the length of time you've suffered from the impairment, and whether it is still possible for you to work despite it all.

On occasion, the Administration, when the record is still inconclusive, will have their own medical provider contact your provider for clarification of your record for inconsistencies, data needed, or other reasons. The Administration does reserve the right to have one of its own medical consultants examine your condition as well if there is other equipment necessary to determine the severity of your condition, for example. Further, lab tests or x-rays can be conducted to detect irregularities or abnormalities.

If the Administration has their own medical provider examine your condition, a detailed, diagnostic report will be generated explaining their findings be it positive or negative. The report will indicate a claimant's ability to perform past job-related duties or another type of job duty. Factors considered are the length of time you are able to sit, walk, lift, crouching down, carrying ability, push or pull and stooping to name a few. Included as well are mental demands of the job such as concentrating, memorizing, remembering, socially interacting and routine work stress associated with the regular demands of the work environment. Your vision, hearing, sensitivity to temperatures or smells and other senses will be assessed.

This blog is intended for information purposes only and does not establish legal representation or financial guidance.