What Is Acceptable Medical Evidence for Federal Disability Benefits?

On July 20, 2016

What the SSA will accept as medical evidence of disability for SSDI benefits

What the SSA will accept as medical evidence of disability for SSDI benefits

Applying for federal disability benefits will require providing proof of the disability to the Social Security Administration (SSA). This proof (or acceptable medical evidence) can include various types of documents and reports from medical providers, and it is essential to verifying the nature and severity of the impairment in question. And that will be pivotal to positioning a disability benefits claim for approval.

Here’s a look at the specific types of documents that are usually considered to serve as acceptable medical evidence for SSDI claims:

  • Medical assessment forms completed by a treating physician – Medical assessment forms may be sent directly to your doctor by the SSA, and these forms (when properly completed and returned to the SSA) can serve as strong evidence of mental and/or physical disability. In fact, these forms can go a long way towards propelling an SSDI claim towards approval, as the SSA puts a lot of stock in what treating physicians have to say about someone’s condition (especially if the doctor diagnosed the impairment and/or has been treating the individual for a significant period of time).
  • Hospital records or reports – If you have been treated for your disability in a hospital, the documentation associated with this treatment can also be viable medical evidence to prove the nature of your disability. Note that these records can include documents related to emergency treatment, surgeries, etc.
  • Diagnostic test results – The results of any testing you have undergone (as part of the diagnostic and/or ongoing treatment processes) can also be important medical evidence to submit to the SSA in order to verify your impairment. Examples of this type of documentation can include (but are not limited to) copies of:
    • Blood test results
    • X-rays, MRIs or other imaging tests
    • ECGs and other heart-related test results
    • Results of clinical exams and/or stress tests that you have undergone.
  • Reports from consultative exams – Consultative exams are doctors’ visits ordered by the SSA during the application evaluation process. Generally, these visits are required when the SSA wants or needs further evidence (or the verification of evidence)  related to a disability.
  • Evidence from other sources – Depending on the nature of your disability, the SSA may also accept other evidence that confirms the scope of your limitations (like how your disability may impair you socially, mentally, physically, etc.). For instance, the SSA may accept evidence from social workers, teachers, occupational therapists, chiropractors and/or other practitioners.

Acceptable Medical Evidence for SSDI Claims: More Important Information

  • When medical professionals fail to provide evidence – Clearly, having your treating physician’s support and help can be important in the process of applying for disability benefits. When doctors fail to support these claims (because maybe they have misdiagnosed a condition or they have forgotten to submit the appropriate evidence), the best thing you can do is consult a lawyer to find out more about your options for overcoming this challenge.
  • Misinterpretation of medical evidence – Just because you (and your doctors) may have been diligent about getting all of the necessary evidence into the SSA does NOT necessarily mean that the proof you have provided will be reviewed or interpreted correctly. In other words, it’s possible for the SSA to make mistakes, miss seeing certain evidence or misinterpret the evidence it does receive – and that can lead to wrongful denials of claims. When this happens, again, the single best thing you can do is contact an attorney – like Richard A. Sly – to find out more about your options for getting the benefits you need and likely deserve.

Contact Portland Disability Lawyer Richard A. Sly

For experienced help applying for federal disability and/or SSI benefits, contact Portland Disability Lawyer Richard A. Sly.

For more than three decades, Attorney Richard A. Sly has been dedicated to helping his clients navigate the complexities of the SSA so that they can secure the benefits to which they are entitled.

To discuss your case for free and get your claim started at no cost, call us at (503) 406-1471 or email us via the contact form on this page. We offer free initial consultations, are conveniently located in downtown Portland near public transportation, and serve clients throughout the states of Washington and Oregon.

Categories: Disability Determination Process, Eligibility for Benefits, Social Security Disability, Social Security Disability Benefits for Injuries, Social Security Disability Benefits for Mental Conditions, SSI Supplemental Security Income