When it Comes to Social Security Disability Claims, Not All Medical Providers Are the Same


Social Security disability claims are normally won or lost based on the quality of the medical evidence that is presented to the agency and administrative judges. The higher the quality of the medical evidence, the more likely that Social Security will treat your claimed disabilities seriously, and that is an important step towards securing the sometimes-elusive finding of "disability" which is necessary to secure benefits.


Some claimants are surprised, however, to learn that not all medical providers carry the same "weight" with Social Security. Making sure that you have adequate medical evidence from an appropriate source can sometimes be the difference that makes a Social Security case successful.


There was a time when the treating doctor of a claimant was accorded more weight than other sources. In fact, in some circumstances, it was considered to be "controlling weight," which means that your treating doctor alone could change the outcome of the case in the right situation. However, for all claims filed after March 2017, the weight accorded to treating doctors has changed, and SSA no longer defers to treating doctors when making decisions.


So how does the type of medical provider affect the outcome of a claim? In short, some types of practitioners are not considered by Social Security to be acceptable as a source of medical information about you. Physical therapists, chiropractors, licensed therapists, counselors, and social workers are generally not considered to be adequate sources of medical information.


To ensure that Social Security will seriously evaluate your medical conditions, you'll need to provide objective evidence from other types of sources, including licensed physicians, licensed nurse practitioners, licensed physician's assistants, psychologists, and psychiatrists. If your condition has not been diagnosed and observed by one of these types of providers (what Social Security calls an "acceptable" medical source), you may be in danger of losing your claim.


If you are currently being treated by a provider that is not treated as an acceptable medical source, you should consider finding a licensed physician or psychiatrist to evaluate and diagnose your condition. It could be the difference that is needed for you to obtain benefits.



© 2017 Matthew Ritchie