What Medical Evidence do you Need for Social Security Benefits?
In order to obtain benefits for SSI or SSDI, you must obtain medical evidence of a disability. Without a disability, and evidence of said disability, you will not be able to successfully file for any benefits. According to the Social Security Administration, a disability is defined as a person who is unable to perform labor for gain because of a medical condition that has lasted, or is expected to last, for a minimum of 12 months, or, is expected to cause death. Those under the age of 18 are also possibly eligible if they suffer from a condition that leads to severe functional limitations.
In addition to having a credible disability, it must be proven by medically acceptable laboratory or clinical findings by a licensed professional. Symptoms aren’t enough, a diagnosis must be made.
Examples of Credible Medical Sources
- Licensed Physician, such as a medical or osteopathic doctor.
- Licensed Podiatrists for establishing impairments of the foot and/or ankle.
- Licensed Optometrists, but only for visual disorders.
- Certified Psychologists for intellectual or learning disabilities only.
- Qualified Speech and Language Pathologists can also establish speech or language impairments, qualified meaning licensed by the state or state education agency.
The type of evidence required can also vary widely depending on the disability you are filing for. Evidence will be requested from your primary treatment sources, any health treatment centers who have administered care to you, and may other evidence such as non-medical sources like schools, parents or caregivers, employers, and even social workers. If you see a chiropractor or practice natural medicine, those individuals may be contacted as well.
When contacted, these sources of your treatment and other sources may be asked to provide the following types of evidence, and when filing, you should expect to have as many of these prepared in advance as possible to facilitate a smooth process.
- A full and detailed medical history.
- Lab Results such as any X-rays, MRI’s, and CT scans.
- A medical diagnosis of an existing condition.
- Clinical findings, for example, the results of a mental exam or a physical.
- Any treatment or prognosis.
- Statements about what you, the patient, can or cannot do in response to your impairments.
This should include details related to your activities at work and daily care, and if it is in relation to mental impairments it should include functional limitations.
Even if you have all of this prepared beforehand, the SSA may still contact you or one of your primary caregivers for additional information. When applying for, or considering applying for SSI or SSDI benefits, make sure to consult your physician. To learn more about what kinds of disabilities qualify, how to apply, and how to get VA-specific coverage, visit our website today.