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What kind of medical evidence is required for SSDI benefits?

Most Missourians seeking Social Security Disability Insurance benefits understand that they must support their claim with medical evidence showing that they are disabled. However, very few potential SSDI applicants understand the precise nature of the medical evidence that is required to prove the existence of a qualifying disability. This post will summarize the requirements of the federal regulations that govern disability benefits.

Each type of illness or injury will, of course, require different kinds of medical evidence. An x-ray may be required to prove a bone abnormality, while a blood test may be required to show that the claimant has a disease such as leukemia. Nevertheless, the types of medical evidence have many common features. SSA regulations require that medical evidence be provided by an "acceptable medical source." These sources include physicians, psychologists, optometrists, podiatrists and speech-language pathologists. Each specialist must be licensed or otherwise qualified in his or her specialty.

Medical reports should include a complete medical history, clinical findings relevant to the disability, laboratory findings such as blood pressure or x-rays, diagnosis and prescribed treatment. The medical evidence should also include a statement of a claimant's remaining physical abilities. The SSA may also request a residual functional capacity examination to verity the claimant's work-related abilities.

In general, the medical evidence must be sufficiently detailed and complete to allow the SSA to evaluate the nature and severity of the impairment, whether the disability will last for at least 12 months and whether the applicant is able to engage in substantial gainful employment. Anyone considering applying for SSD benefits may wish to consult an attorney who specializes in SSDI claims. A knowledgeable attorney can evaluate the claim and provide assistance in assembling the medical and employment evidence that is necessary for a successful claim.

Source: Social Security Administration, Code of Federal Regulations § 404.1513. Medical and other evidence of your impairment(s), accessed on Nov. 19, 2016

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