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The SSA's evidentiary standards for disability evidence

As readers of this blog know, proving that an individual suffers from a disability that meets the Social Security Administration's requirements for Social Security disability benefits isn't always simple. In fact, the matter can be quite complicated with claims adjudicators looking for any weaknesses in a claim that can justify a denial. With this in mind, those seeking to successfully claim SSD benefits need to know how to put forth the strongest, most compelling evidence they can muster.

One way to do this is to understand the evidentiary requirements put forth by the SSA. When it comes to medical evidence of a qualifying condition, the SSA typically requires that it be obtained from licensed medical professionals. These professionals can include physicians, psychologists, optometrists, and podiatrists. As for medical evidence acquired from treating sources, a claimant should do everything they can to ensure such tests are ordered by a licensed medical professional and are as thorough and detailed as possible.

Although the evidentiary requirements for medical professionals may be pretty strict, there are other ways to support one's SSD claim. For example, an individual may want to strengthen the showing that he is unable to perform his work tasks. For this, he may be able to obtain evidence form his employer. Even individuals such as chiropractors, parents, social workers, and parents can provide evidence that may help buttress a claim.

Improperly evidencing one's disability is one of the biggest reasons why initial SSD claims are denied. Therefore, those who are seeking to file their initial claim, as well as those looking to appeal a denial, should carefully consider their medical and other evidence to first determine if it meets the SSA's standards, and, if so, how best to utilize it to support the claim's weaknesses.

Source: Social Security Administration, "Disability Evaluation Under Social Security," accessed on Feb. 3, 2017

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