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Chambersburg disability attorneys explain the sources of available evidence in Social Security disability cases

As Chambersburg disability attorneys, a good part of our work consists of gathering, analyzing and prioritizing the evidence in each case, to persuasively demonstrate that (a) our client has an impairment, and (b) the impairment is so severe as to prevent our client from working. Medical evidence is the cornerstone of every disability determination. In most cases, however, the medical evidence is only one piece of the puzzle. In making a disability determination in your case, the Social Security Administration will consider medical and other evidence from a number of different sources.

Acceptable medical sources

To establish that you have an impairment, you must present evidence from an “acceptable medical source.” The Social Security regulations define “acceptable medical sources” to include licensed physicians (medical or osteopathic doctors); licensed or certified psychologists; licensed optometrists; licensed podiatrists; and qualified speech-language pathologists. Once it is established by an acceptable medical source that you do, in fact, have a medically determinable impairment, the Social Security Administration will consider the severity of your impairment based on all the other medical and non-medical evidence in your record.

Treating sources

Evidence from your treating doctors is especially important because these individuals can provide a long-term picture of your impairment. The Social Security decision-maker will look for the following information in a medical report from a treating doctor: your medical history; clinical findings; lab findings (e.g., blood work); a diagnosis; treatment prescribed, along with a description of your response and prognosis; and a statement regarding your residual functional capacity (i.e., what you are capable of doing despite the limitations causes by your impairment).

Healthcare facilities

The Social Security decision-maker will review medical evidence provided by the hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare facilities where you have been treated.

Other sources of evidence

Other sources of evidence, including non-medical sources, may shed light on the nature and severity of your impairment, and how your impairment affects your ability to perform work-related functions (e.g., walking, sitting, standing, following directions). Sources of this type of evidence include employers, schools, caregivers, social workers, and medical practitioners, such as chiropractors and naturopaths.

Symptom-related evidence

The symptoms of your impairment (e.g., difficulty breathing, fatigue, pain) and the impact of those symptoms on your ability to work will be of great interest to the Social Security Administration. In evaluating your symptoms, the Social Security decision-maker will consider all the evidence provided by your treating sources and other sources regarding the following:

  • The intensity, frequency, location, and duration of your pain or other symptoms;
  • Factors that precipitate and aggravate the symptoms; measures that alleviate or relieve the symptoms;
  • Your medication, including the dosage, effectiveness, and side effects; and
  • Your daily activities and functional limitations.

Consultative examinations

The evidence in your case record, including the medical evidence and other evidence from other sources, must be complete and detailed enough for the Social Security Administration to make a disability determination in your case. If it is not, the Social Security Administration may ask your treating sources for additional information or arrange for a “consultative examination.” A consultative examination is an examination conducted by an independent source for the purpose of obtaining additional information needed to make a disability determination.

The Chambersburg Social Security lawyers at Black and Davison can help you present a complete record of your disability

An experienced Chambersburg Social Security lawyer can be of great assistance to you in gathering the evidence needed to establish your disability. We work closely with our clients’ treating doctors to obtain timely, accurate, and complete medical reports. This type of information is critical to the success of a claim and may even speed the processing of a claim by reducing or eliminating the need for additional medical evidence. We pay special attention to symptom-related evidence, particularly to preparing our clients to testify before the administrative law judge, because we know how important this evidence is to proving the severity of a claimant’s impairment. If you would like us to review the evidence in your case, please submit the Free Claim Evaluation form on this page, or call or email us directly. We will respond promptly.

Black and Davison
Pennsylvania Social Security lawyers

82 West Queen Street
Chambersburg, PA 17201