Central to any Social Security Disability Insurance benefits (“SSDI” or “disability benefits”) claim is sufficient medical evidence of your disability and how it prevents you from being able to work full time.
But what about non-medical evidence? Can that influence your disability claim?
It certainly can.
Medical Records and Test Results.
To qualify for SSDI, you must document your current medical condition.
To determine if a person is “disabled” within the Social Security Administration’s (“SSA”) definition of “disabled,” disability examiners or Administrative Law Judges (“ALJ”) must rely on objective medical evidence.
In other words, your medical records (doctor’s notes, MRIs, x-rays, test results etc.) are the evidence you submit to the Social Security Administration (“SSA”) as proof of your disability or impairment.
The disability examiner or ALJ will rely heavily on your medical records to establish how long you have had your physical or mental impairments and when they began to interfere with your ability to work on a consistent basis (i.e., your “onset date”).
However, one of the main limitations of medical records is that they do not tell you what a person can or cannot do when it comes to everyday living or job-related tasks. In other words, your medical records do not tell the whole story of your disability.
Of course, there are things that you or your attorney can do to get the medical records to relate more to your functional capacity at work. For example, you could have your doctor fill out a Residual Functional Capacity or Medical Source Statement form.
But in general, medical records simply don’t address how your illness affects you at work and at home.
To address this difficulty of evidence, non-medical evidence can often be helpful.
For example, work records can be helpful non-medical evidence. A person’s work records might show a progression of sick days and absences leading up to his/her ultimately leaving the job due to disability. Or, someone’s work file might have letters in it discussing your illness or impairments and how it affects you at work. This type of non-medical evidence can be very helpful.
Likewise, sometimes written statements from former employers or co-workers can give the ALJ a clear picture of your disability.
Used in conjunction with medical records, in the hands of an experienced disability attorney, non-medical evidence can be very persuasive. Disability attorneys know the evidence you need to make your case and how to get it for you.
Handling Disability Cases Is What We Do.
We are Social Security attorneys with offices in Poplar Bluff, Rolla, St. Louis, St. Joseph, West Plains and other cities in Missouri, and in Overland Park, Salina, Topeka, and Wichita Kansas, and in Illinois, and Oklahoma. All we do is Social Security disability cases. We FIGHT for our clients and we offer free consultations. We are committed to getting our clients the benefits they deserve and we do not get paid unless you win your case. Contact us today to set up your free appointment.