Disability Evaluation Process

When you first apply for Social Security disability insurance (SSDI) benefits, your claim is processed through a local SSDI office. An important part of the disability evaluation process is what is known as evidentiary requirements. When you file an application for SSDI, you must prove that you have a disability as well as prove the severity of your disability. Under SSDI regulations, your illness or injury must be anticipated to last 12 months or longer or result in your death.

Medical Requirements

As part of the disability evaluation process, the person responsible for processing your SSDI application checks to ensure that you have included documentation from acceptable medical sources. For SSDI purposes, acceptable medical sources include any or all of the following:

  • Licensed medical or osteopathic doctors.
  • When the claim is for mental retardation, borderline intellectual functioning or learning disabilities, medical reports from a licensed psychologist must be included.
  • A licensed podiatrist in claims that include disabilities of the feet and ankles.
  • For speech issues, medical documentation from a qualified speech-language pathologist must be included.

In order to make a decision on your SSDI application, the SSDI office requires medical evidence from everyone who has treated you as well as from any health care facility where you have received treatment. This includes hospitals, clinics, physical rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and similar facilities. Evidence from non-medical sources should also be included with the application. These sources may be teachers, employers, social workers or anyone else whom you or your child interact with on a regular basis.

What Must Be Included in Your Medical Report

At a minimum, the medical information you submit to SSDI should include your complete medical history, clinical findings related to your current condition, laboratory reports, your official diagnosis, your treatment history and a detailed description of how your disability impacts your ability to do your job. This includes such things as the ability to follow instructions, hear, see, walk and other daily activities. You should also indicate how well you can currently care for yourself with the limits of your disability.

If the SSDI office does not feel that you have sent adequate medical information, you may be required to undergo another examination. It is preferred that you seek this examination from someone who is already familiar with your condition.

How Initial Determinations Are Made

While evaluating your initial application for Social Security disability benefits, the main thing the evaluator looks for is whether you can do any type of work at all. Your claim may be denied if SSDI feels that your disability does not prevent you from training for a new line of work. If you disagree with the decision, you must prove that your disability prevents you from working at all. In the event that you are declined, you have the right to file an appeal. You stand a better chance of getting approved by getting a free social security disability attorney evaluation from a lawyer in Chicago.