Medical exams for social security disability
According to the Social Security Administration (SSA), medical evidence is the cornerstone of the disability determination process for both Social Security Disability Insurance (SSD) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
While you will not have to gather your own medical records from your medical sources, it is imperative that you get the right medical care and subsequent medical documentation from valid medical sources that have reviewed and treated your condition.
Acceptable Medical Sources to win SSDI or SSI benefits
So what types of medical evidence will you need to prove your disability case? First, you will need to go and have your condition evaluated by an acceptable medical source.
Acceptable medical sources can include:
- Licensed physicians (medical or osteopathic doctors);
- Licensed or certified psychologists. Included are school psychologists, or other licensed or certified individuals with other titles who perform the same function as a school psychologist in a school setting;
- Licensed optometrists, for purposes of establishing visual disorders;
- Licensed podiatrists, for purposes of establishing impairments of the foot, or foot and ankle only;
- Qualified speech-language pathologists, for purposes of establishing speech or language impairments only.
Each of these medical sources, along with other hospitals, clinics, or other health facilities where a claimant has been treated will provide medical documentation for the disability case. Medical documentation can include any information which provides information about the claimant's medical history, clinical findings (such as the results of physical or mental status examinations); laboratory findings (such as blood pressure, x-rays); diagnosis; and treatment prescribed with response and prognosis.
Claimants should also have medical evidence which details information about their mental or physical functional limitations to work. Such as information about their ability to lift and carry objects, understand and remember instructions, and their ability to respond appropriately to supervision and coworkers.
What if I cannot afford to see a doctor?
Under some conditions, if the SSA lacks sufficient information to make a disability determination, they will arrange for a consultative examination (CE). The SSA allows the claimant's primary physician or other treating source to perform the consultative examination if they wish, but the claimant can also request that an independent source perform the examination.
The consultative examiner will provide information to the SSA concerning the claimant's chief complaint and other details of their findings through examinations and other laboratory tests. They will also provide a diagnosis and prognosis for the claimant's impairments. Information which will also be included on the report includes information about the claimant's ability to perform their daily activities, treatment options, precipitating and aggravating factors, and other measures the claimant has used to treat their condition.
Unfortunately, generally seeing a consultative examiner does not help the claimant's case. It's important to see your own doctor and follow their treatment plan. If you are not currently getting the proper medical treatment you will not have evidence of your impairment, and it is difficult to prove to the SSA that you are disabled and cannot work.
A disability lawyer is only paid if they win your case. If they win they are paid a specific amount of your back pay up to a predetermined limit. Hiring a lawyer will generally improve your chances of winning benefits at every stage of the disability process.