Proper medical evidence is the foundation of a Social Security disability claim. Beyond documents proving your identity and income (birth certificate, proof of citizenship, W-2 forms, tax returns, etc.), every disability claim starts with the Adult Disability Report. That report collects details about both your disability and your work history. Along with that document, you’ll be required to submit additional medical evidence to support your case. Our Baltimore SSD attorney explains what you will need in more detail below.
Evidence You Are Responsible For
You (the claimant) are responsible for submitting all evidence that you know about that relates to whether you are disabled or blind — the Social Security Administration (SSA) will not hunt it down for you. That duty extends to any additional evidence that you become aware of during the review process. The evidence you provide must be detailed enough to enable the SSA to determine three things:
- The nature and severity of your impairment
- How long you have experienced the impairment
- Whether you can still do work-related physical and mental activities with the impairment
You may use several different types of medical evidence to supply this information to the SSA from both medical sources and non-medical sources.
Evidence to Document the Existence of an Impairment
The SSA must be able to verify that you actually suffer an impairment that could reasonably be expected to produce the kinds of pain or other symptoms that you allege. In other words, your symptoms have to be consistent with a legitimate medical diagnosis. The best way to provide the SSA that information is through official medical sources from your doctors and other healthcare providers. This can include:
- Results of clinical exams
- Medical opinions
- Records of hospital admissions
- Laboratory findings and test results
- Current diagnoses of your condition
- Current prescriptions, including the type, dosage, effectiveness, and side effects
Evidence to Document the Severity and Impact of Your Impairment
Once you have established that you suffer an impairment with evidence obtained from objective medical sources, you may also submit evidence regarding the severity of your symptoms and the effects they have on your life. This type of evidence can be subjective and may come from both medical and non-medical sources. Some common sources of this information include:
- Personal statements
- Statements of friends and family
- Statements of managers and coworkers
- Public and private social welfare evaluations
- Reports from other government agencies
- The results of at-home treatments used to alleviate symptoms
The Consultative Examination
If the SSA finds that the evidence you provide is insufficient to determine whether you are eligible for benefits, it may order a consultative examination. This is an additional medical examination paid for by the SSA to obtain further information. After the examination, the examining doctor will present a detailed report to the SSA that it can use as a basis to make its determination.
Contact a Baltimore SSD Attorney for Help Assembling Medical Evidence
Tracking down medical evidence is not always an easy task, particularly when you don’t know what you’re looking for. For help assembling medical evidence for a social security disability claim, please contact Baltimore SSD attorney Emmett B. Irwin by calling 443-839-0818 or using our online contact form.