When you file a claim for Social Security disability benefits with the help of an Illinois Social Security disability lawyer, submitting hard medical evidence is an important part of the process. Without medical evidence, the Social Security Administration has no way to know the validity of your claim, the extent of your disability, or for how long your disability is expected to last. In fact, under Disability Evaluation Under Social Security, it is explained that providing medical evidence is a requirement.
Disability Evaluation Under Social Security provides a list of exactly what medical evidence that is submitted must demonstrate. According to the list, medical evidence must show:
- Existence of an impairment; and
- Severity of impairment.
The requirements continue to read that the claimant is responsible for submitting all evidence that is available to them that relates to their disability (or blindness), and explains that the duty is ongoing as more evidence is collected and becomes available. The evidence must be detailed enough that the Social Security Administration is able to determine the nature of the impairment, for how long the impairment has lasted and is expected to last, and whether or not the affected person will be able to do any work-related physical and mental activities.
Medical Evidence that’s Necessary for Your Claim
It is important, as stated above, that you provide all medical evidence related to your disability when applying for Social Security disability. You will need to submit all evidence from:
- Your doctors and treatment providers – The evidence provided by those who are treating you will likely carry a lot of weight, as these doctors will know your medical history and your treatment plan the best. You can ask for your doctors to submit evidence to the Social Security Administration directly, which may speed up how long your claim takes to process.
- Other doctors. While the doctors who are treating you are very familiar with your disability and are the best source of medical evidence, evidence provided by other doctors may help your claim as well. The Social Security Administration will accept evidence provided by other licensed or certified doctors, such as psychiatrists, pathologists, or even optometrists.
- Medical records. All medical records, including any records of hospital stays, should be submitted to the Social Security Administration. This includes any lab findings, results of x-rays or CAT scans, list of prescriptions you are currently taking, etc.
What Happens if You Don’t Provide Enough Hard Medical Evidence?
If you don’t submit enough hard medical evidence when you apply for Social Security disability benefits, you can almost guarantee that your claim will be denied, or delayed at the very least. The Social Security Administration will likely contact you and request more information; if you are unable to provide information, you may be ordered to participate in a consultative examination. A consultative examination is an examination of the patient by a physician, paid for the Social Security Administration, that is used to determine the details of the disability. However, consultative exams are not offered in every case, and even when they are, the doctor hired by the Social Security Administration may not agree with your primary care doctor about the extent of your disability.