The kind of evidence used to evaluate and decide your disability benefit claim includes medical evidence and information related to your work history and vocational qualifications. Under the Code of Federal Regulations § 404.1529, the Social Security Administration (SSA) must have “objective medical evidence from an acceptable medical source” to prove you suffer from an impairment that prevents you from working and qualifies you for disability benefits.
In general, the local Social Security field office will evaluate your work history, personal statement, application, and other materials before forwarding your additional information to the Office of Disability Determination Services. An examiner at this office will order and examine your medical records and other evidence to decide if you have a valid claim for disability.
Proving Your Impairment and Medical Condition
When you apply for disability benefits, you will need to provide a detailed medical history that describes your impairment. This will include when it began, your treatment, and any other information you think will help the examiner reviewing your case to understand the severity. You will also provide information, so the examiner can contact your doctor and get your medical records related to your impairment.
In general, your medical records should establish several things for the examiner, including:
- Your diagnosis
- The severity of your symptoms
- The date of your diagnosis
- Your prognosis (e.g., whether your doctor thinks your impairment will be short-lived, will last longer than a year, or end in death)
Your records should also include any treatments you tried and the outcome, your current medications, and information about your limitations. These records play an important role in proving you suffer from a qualifying impairment but may not be enough depending on your specific impairment.
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Evidence Specific to Your Impairment
Simply having a diagnosis is not usually enough to get disability benefits. There are specific criteria you must meet for almost every impairment listing. Meeting these criteria often requires certain types of evidence, such as:
- X-ray, MRI, CT scan, or another type of medical imaging
- Laboratory or clinical test results
- Records of hospitalization
- Surgical records
- Other treatment records and your results
Additional Application Information
As a part of filing your claim, you will need to submit a personal statement about your condition as well as complete a questionnaire about your activities of daily living. Depending on the strength of your medical evidence, these may also play a key role in receiving approval for the disability benefits you deserve.
Evidence of Your Work History and Related Information
Proving you suffer from a qualifying impairment is only half the battle to get Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). You also need to provide information about your work history, and to show the SSA you can no longer work because of your impairment.
Some of the evidence you may need to provide includes proof of:
- When your impairment began affecting your work
- When your impairment made it impossible for you to work at all
- The type of work you did before your impairment, including job duties
- Dates and job titles of previous employment
The SSA will likely also need to know about your education, including the level of education you obtained and the dates you graduated. You may need to include any vocational programs, certifications, and other specialized training specific to your industry. This is important in determining if you can learn a new vocation or change to a more sedentary job.
Collect Evidence Before Applying for Disability
The more information you are prepared to provide before you visit your local Social Security field office or otherwise submit your application, the more prepared you will be for your interview. This may give you the best shot at getting approved for disability.
Take Action If You Receive a Disability Denial Notice in Pittsburgh
If you suffer from a permanent or long-term impairment that prevents you from working your Pittsburgh job, but the SSA denied your disability claim, a Social Security disability lawyer at Berger and Green can help. We will handle your appeal, scheduling your appeals hearing and representing you to the Administrative Law Judge. If your impairment occurred because of someone else’s negligence, we may also be able to file a personal injury lawsuit on your behalf.