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The Possible Effects of Medical Opinions on a Social Security Disability Case

Posted on in Social Security Disability

Chicago disability attorneyPeople who experience serious injuries or illnesses may rely on government aid to meet their needs. Social Security disability benefits may be available to a person who has suffered from a disabling health condition that has affected them for at least one year or is expected to last for 12 months or more. To demonstrate that they qualify for disability benefits, a person will need to provide medical evidence, and in some cases, Social Security may also require them to be examined by an independent medical professional. In some cases, these professionals may come to different conclusions, and applicants should understand how Social Security will consider opinions from different sources.

How Social Security Weighs Medical Opinions

Social Security may look at reports provided by multiple different types of medical professionals. A professional must be considered an acceptable medical source, meaning that they can provide reports that are relevant to a person’s disabling health conditions. These sources may include medical or osteopathic physicians, licensed psychologists who can assess a person’s mental health issues, optometrists who can address visual impairments, podiatrists who can assess disorders affecting the feet or ankles, speech-language pathologists who can address language disorders and related impairments, audiologists who can assess hearing loss, physician assistants who can assess impairments within their licensed scope of practice, and licensed advance practices registered nurses (including nurse practitioners, certified nurse midwives, and clinical nurse specialists).

When evaluating medical opinions, Social Security will consider several different factors, and the most important of these are supportability and consistency. Supportability involves the relevance of evidence used by a medical professional to support their findings, such as the results of lab tests. Consistency addresses whether a professional’s opinions are in line with evidence from other medical sources. If one doctor’s reports differ significantly from those provided by other medical professionals, Social Security is less likely to find their opinions to be persuasive.

If multiple medical opinions are equally persuasive based on supportability and consistency, Social Security may consider other factors to determine the weight of different opinions. These include the history of a doctor’s relationship with the applicant, including how long and how frequently the person has been seeing the doctor, the extent of the medical care they have received, and whether a professional has examined the person or just reviewed their records. Social Security may also look at whether a medical source has received specialized training in an area of medicine that would provide them with insight into relevant issues that affect the applicant’s condition.

Contact Our Chicago Social Security Disability Application Attorneys

At Pearson Disability Law, LLC, we can make sure you provide the proper medical evidence when applying for Social Security disability benefits. During an application or appeal, we can help you address any conflicts with reports from your doctors and the opinions of other medical professionals, and we will help you demonstrate that you are eligible to receive disability benefits. Contact our Chicago Social Security disability appeals lawyers at 312-999-0999 to schedule a free consultation and case review.

 

Sources:

https://www.ssa.gov/OP_Home/cfr20/404/404-1520c.htm

https://www.ssa.gov/disability/professionals/greenbook/ce-evidence.htm

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