Medical Opinions in Social Security Disability Cases

Doctor giving a medical exam to a social security disability patient.

The most important aspect of applying for disability benefits is collecting and submitting medical documentation that supports your claim. It is essential to submit to the Social Security Administration not only records from your primary care physician, but also records from specialists, urgent care facilities, hospitals, chiropractic clinics, psychologists and/or therapists, home health care facilities, compensation and pension examinations, documentation from vocational rehabilitation, and physical therapy reports. For individuals alleging deficits in mental functioning, it is also important to obtain school records including results of intellectual function testing (IQ scores) and any special education records.

If you have an established physician, ask if he or she would be willing to write a statement or complete documentation from your representative to be supplied to the Social Security Administration in support of your case. This statement should explain your condition(s) and the functional limitations you face in regard to performing job-related duties. It is important that the statement be specific in regard to documenting your limitations, a statement that simply states that you are disabled without specific limitations is likely to be discounted by Social Security.

Examples of a helpful medical opinion:

  • “The patient is unable to stand or walk for more than 2 hours total out of an 8 hour period due to diabetic neuropathy which has been confirmed by nerve conduction studies.”
  • “The patient cannot work around the general public and would be only able to occasionally interact with coworkers secondary to depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.”

EXAMPLES OF An unHELPFUL MEDICAL OPINION:

  • “The patient is unable to work in any capacity.”
  • “The patient is not employable due to his/her medical conditions.”

The social security administration’s policy on medical opinions in social security disability cases can be found at:

https://secure.ssa.gov/poms.nsf/lnx/0424515003
https://www.ssa.gov/OP_Home/cfr20/404/404-1527.htm
https://www.socialsecurity.gov/OP_Home/rulings/di/01/SSR96-02-di-01.html
https://www.socialsecurity.gov/OP_Home/rulings/di/01/SSR96-05-di-01.html

Please contact the Lowery Law Group at 843-991-0733 if you would like our Social Security Disability Department to review your case.

Visit our main site at www.lowerylegal.com for more information on submitting your social security disability claim.
Call 843-991-0733 or email us at info@lowerylegal.com for a FREE consultation with a lawyer professional.