Social Security Disability Applications: What is Used as Evidence

Published on December 21st, 2017

Having a diagnosis of a disability or medical condition that meets the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) definition of a qualifying condition is not necessarily enough to be granted a Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefit. Most times, the SSA will require further evidence that includes when the issue became disabling and in what ways does it make it impossible for the claimant to live a full and normal life. Many people have a diagnosis for a condition but still live full, active lives with gainful employment, and the SSA reserves benefits for those that are unable to do so. The best way to find out if you would qualify for benefits is to talk it over with a qualified attorney that can look at your case on an individual basis.

Social Security Disability Application

What Does SSA Accept as Evidence

Records from physicians and other healthcare providers are generally some of the best sources of evidence. Notes from examinations, laboratory results on blood work or other tests, medical imaging like xrays and MRIs are all good forms of evidence that doctors can provide the SSA. There are some components of the evidence that SSA likes most, so that the evidence is most relevant to what is needed to make a determination.

– Timely evidence shows when changes happened or provide the best information over the course of the disability. Generally information should be fairly recent, within the last six months is the most likely to be beneficial, however older records that show the onset, or that shows periods of change after a diagnosis can be very helpful as well.

– Sufficiently complete evidence is documentation that is highly detailed and relevant to the symptoms. For evidence to be sufficient, it needs to explicitly state what the diagnosis is, what in the body it affects, how that affects the person’s interaction with the world around them and how it prevents them from earning for themselves. If the evidence is detailed enough it can answer all of the questions the SSA could ask and satisfy what is necessary to grant benefits.

– Accurate evidence is also a necessity. The information must be confirmed to be correct by the sources and by other provided evidence. If, for example, the evaluation of a lab report by one physician claims the test shows an abnormality, but standard medical information shows that it is within normal ranges then that physicians claims may be viewed as inaccurate. Other forms of inaccuracy are things like having unqualified healthcare providers, such as chiropractors, provide notes and records as chiropractors are not considered medical doctors by the SSA.

Of course evidence can and should be provided from other sources than just doctors, as day to day information is needed as well. The information should be written, and complete in explaining events and particular times where it was witnessed that the condition affected the person’s life in a detrimental way. Evidence should support the fact that the claimant has been stopped from continuing their normal life and describe in what ways the disability prevents them from receiving gainful income.

If evidence from doctors and other witness letters aren’t enough, then the SSA will often order a consultative examination as well. Consultative examinations are direct and specific for what the claimant’s disability is, and they explore the full limitations caused by the condition to fill in any information that may be lacking. They are done by independent physicians, contracted by the SSA to handle the exams.

All of the different points of evidence help in different ways, so ensuring that the proper information is included and all of the proper points of contact needed, helps move the process faster and get applications approved more easily.


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