Medical Evidence of Disability or Impairment for SSDI Purposes

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is a federal insurance program that is run by the Social Security Administration (SSA). SSDI provides cash benefits to replace some of an individual’s income if they can no longer work due to disability.

SSDI is not a welfare program, because individuals pay in to the system through taxes withheld from the individual’s paychecks. To be eligible, an individual needs to have a sufficient work history and meet disability criteria to be entitled to benefits.

In order to be deemed eligible for SSD, an individual must suffer from an injury or illness that is terminal or prevents him or her from working for at least 12 months. Many conditions are considered to be disabling by SSD, including both physical and mental disorders. Also, an individual may have two or more disabilities or impairments, which when considered as a whole, result in the individual being unable to engage in substantial gainful employment.

Listing Of Impairments

The SSA keeps a list called the Listing Of Impairments, or the “Blue Book”, that describes the impairments that they consider severe enough to prevent an individual from doing any gainful activity. The criteria in the Listing of Impairments are applied when an individual applies for SSDI benefits.

Part A of the Listing of Impairments lists medical criteria that apply to the evaluation of impairments in adults age 18 and older. This means that in order to be eligible for SSDI benefits, SSA requires that the individual prove that he or she has a medically determinable physical or mental impairment that resulted from an abnormality that can be shown by accepted clinical and laboratory diagnostic techniques.

Medical Evidence Of Impairment

Medical evidence of an individual’s disability usually comes from sources that have provided medical care or treatment to the individual, or that have tested or evaluated the individual. Acceptable medical sources may include:

  • licensed physicians (MDs or DOs)
  • licensed or certified psychologists
  • licensed optometrists
  • licensed podiatrists
  • qualified speech-language pathologists
Image Source (CC BY 2.0) by mdgovpics ff via flickr

Medical reports and information provided by these professionals may include:

  • medical history information
  • clinical findings such as physical or mental status examination results
  • laboratory findings including x-rays, CT or MRI scans, blood test results, and others
  • diagnostic evaluations, treatment prescriptions and response information, and prognosis information
  • statements regarding the SSDI applicant’s ability to perform work-related activities, such as standing, sitting, walking, lifting, carrying, handling objects, hearing, speaking, and traveling
  • if mental functioning is impaired, statements describing the SSDI applicant’s ability to understand, to remember and carry out instructions, and to respond appropriately to work pressures

Depending on an individual’s particular impairment, other medical information may be important and useful for an SSDI application or appeal. An experienced Florida SSDI attorney from Hoffman, Larin & Agnetti, P.A. can provide specific advice for your situation if you give us a call at (305) 653-5555.

Other Sources Of Evidence Of Impairment

Non-medical sources also may help to establish evidence of how an individual’s impairment(s) affect his or her ability to function in the work setting. Non-medical sources of proof and support may include public and private agencies that provide services to or that interact with the individual, including schools, caregivers, social workers, and other practitioners such as chiropractors, audiologists, and naturopaths.

Other proof of an individual’s level or degree of impairment can be shown by information regarding:

  • the individual’s ability to perform daily activities
  • the individual’s pain symptoms (including information on location, duration, frequency, and intensity)
  • medications the individual takes (including type of medication, dosage, effectiveness, and side effects if any)
  • methods or activities used to try to relieve pain or other symptoms
  • any other information about the individual’s functional limitations

Contact Our Attorneys for Help

When you need to file a claim for SSDI, it can be confusing and overwhelming. It can be difficult to know what forms to fill out and what information the government actually wants. You also want to make the strongest case you can in your application because you don’t want to become needlessly involved in a long appeals process to get benefits that you deserve.

At Hoffman, Larin & Agnetti, P.A., our experienced Broward, Monroe, and Dade County Social Security Disability attorneys will file your initial application for you. We will help you assemble the information required to complete your application and get claim approved because we know what the Social Security Administration looks for in a successful application. If you have already applied but been denied benefits, we can help you gather the necessary evidence needed to appeal the decision and represent you throughout the appeal process.

If you are applying for SSD or are appealing an SSD denial, you already have enough on your plate with your health. Call us today at (305) 653-5555 and let the skilled attorneys at Hoffman, Larin & Agnetti, P.A. reduce your stress load.