Accepted Medical Sources for Social Security Disability Applications

The following is a guest post courtesy of Lance Brusilow, owner of Philadelphia court reporting firm Brusilow & Associates.

Acceptable medical sources can mean the difference between an approved application for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits and a stern denial from the federal government. So how do you know if your documentation has the stamped seal of approval from a medical professional that SSD examiners will give the proper weight? Fortunately, you don’t have to. Our experienced attorneys have the answers to your burning questions in this latest post to the blog.

Licensed Medical Doctors

The court and disability examiners give the heaviest weight to the opinions of licensed medical doctors and osteopaths treating your condition. These “accepted medical sources” have the years of training necessary to diagnose and treat physical injuries as well as diseases outside of the mental health range. If your application includes only medical information from a healthcare professional with these conditions, you may not need an additional consultative exam to determine the full extent of your disabling condition.

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Licensed Psychologists and Psychiatrists

The Social Security Administration only accepts medical records from licensed psychologists for disabilities stemming from intellectual or learning disabilities. If the claim for disability benefits involves a mental impairment or disorder, including clinical depression, schizophrenia, or mania – only a licensed psychiatrist will do as a credible source of medical information. Without a diagnosis from one of these types of healthcare professionals, your application for benefits doesn’t stand a chance. If you’re unsure of the type of disorder you have, contact your SSD attorney to help you locate a medical professional in your area who can assist you.

Chiropractors and Nurse Practitioners

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Disability examiners recognize chiropractors and nurse practitioners as “accepted medical sources” when it comes to determining eligibility for benefits, but take that characterization with a grain of salt. If you only have a chiropractor or nurse practitioner’s medical records to justify the impact of your injury on your functional capacity, the federal government may request additional examinations before granting approval. The Social Security Administration pays for the additional consultative exam, so it won’t cost you money, though the findings could lead to a denial of benefits. Your legal team should monitor the exam closely.

If a nurse practitioner or chiropractor has conducted long-term care for your disabling condition, the court or disability examiner may give more weight to their diagnosis and evaluation. There are always exceptions to the rules, and your legal team can advise you regarding the status of your medical records as you begin the application process.

Medical Records Needed for Social Security Applications

Regardless of where your medical records come from, having detailed descriptions of your diagnosis and response to various treatments is essential for your application to obtain approval and avoid costly delays. Spotty medical records lead to time-consuming examinations, which drag out the approval process and put off receiving funding you desperately need to keep your financial head above water.

Pennsylvania Disability Lawyers Offering Free Consultations

If you have questions about your Social Security Disability paperwork, and want an experienced law firm to take the headache of filling out all those forms from you, give us a call today.  We’ve processed thousands of SSD applications for clients across Pennsylvania and New Jersey.   

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