Medical evidence is crucial when applying for SSDI (Social Security Disability Insurance) benefits because it serves as the primary basis for determining the presence and severity of a disability. Read below for some key reasons why medical evidence is so important in the SSDI application process.
Establishing a Medically Determinable Impairment
To be eligible for SSDI benefits, you must have a medically determinable impairment (MDI) that meets the SSA's definition of disability. Medical evidence, such as medical records, diagnostic test results, and physician opinions, is essential to establish the existence of a qualifying impairment.
Objective Evidence of Impairment
The SSA typically relies on objective medical evidence to evaluate the severity and impact of a disability. This includes laboratory test results, imaging scans, clinical findings, and expert medical opinions.
Evaluating the Severity of the Impairment:
Medical evidence helps the SSA evaluate the severity of the impairment and how it affects an individual's ability to perform substantial gainful activities (SGA). It provides information about the diagnosis, symptoms, treatment history, response to treatment, and prognosis. This helps the SSA determine if the impairment meets their criteria for disability.
Demonstrating Functional Limitations
Medical evidence plays a crucial role in showing the functional limitations caused by impairment. It helps establish how the disability affects an individual's ability to perform work-related activities, such as standing, walking, lifting, concentrating, and maintaining social interactions.
Consistent and detailed medical evidence strengthens the credibility of the applicant's claims. It provides an objective record of the individual's medical history, treatments, and limitations, validating their subjective complaints of pain, fatigue, or other symptoms. Medical evidence helps demonstrate that the impairment is more than just self-reported symptoms and supports the credibility of the disability claim.
Assessing Disability Duration
The SSA requires that the disability must be expected to last for at least 12 months or result in death to qualify for SSDI benefits. Medical evidence helps establish the expected duration of the impairment by providing information on the diagnosis, prognosis, treatment plans, and the anticipated course of the condition.
Consistency and Completeness
Comprehensive and consistent medical evidence is essential to present a compelling case for disability benefits. It helps ensure that the SSA has a clear understanding of the nature, severity, and functional impact of the impairment. Incomplete or inconsistent medical documentation can weaken the case and lead to a denial of benefits.
If you have been turned down for SSDI benefits because of a lack of medical evidence, speak to a Social Security disability lawyer right away for help.