What Kind of Evidence Should I Get?
🍑 Ideally you would like to have at least one piece of medical evidence.
Your evidence can be an abnormal result on a lab test, an assessment test by a specialist, or a “medical sign” your doctor finds during examination.
How Much Evidence do I Need?
🍑 You do not need a million lab tests. I have seen people lose their minds with worry trying to get a million lab tests.
I totally understand why people feel this way, and it is not bad to get more and more tests, but I also want to let you know that it is not necessary.
If the rest of your application is strong, one or two pieces of medical evidence is often enough to win your claim. If the rest of your application is not strong, you have a different set of problems. Learn some ways to make your application stronger.
If I prove that I have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, will I win my case?
🍑 No. You will win your case if you prove that your Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is so severe it keeps you from being able to work. Or you will win your case if you prove that several conditions you have all add up to being so severe they keep you from being able to work. Ideally, you would like to show that you cannot work any full-time job.
If I prove that I have Lyme Disease, will I win my case?
Are the my test results “good enough?”
🍑 As a general rule, if your doctor thinks your test results are meaningful, Social Security will usually accept your doctor’s opinion. Your doctor must be an MD or another kind of acceptable medical source.
How can I get my doctor to do this?
🍑 When you meet with your doctor to request an rfc form or letter, you can bring a copy of your test result. I recommend to try to keep it to one page so your doctor will read it. If you have more than one test result you are happy with, it’s great if you can bring a brief list of each test date, location, and quote any abnormal outcomes or findings. Your list can also include medical signs.
Why in the world would I do this? My doctor already knows what tests I took.
🍑 Your doctor is not going to know/remember every test you’ve had. If you are expecting that your doctor will start combing through your medical records looking for this information, you are about to be disappointed.
What are the best tests to take?
🍑 I can’t answer this questions. Possibly no one can. However, here is a list of some tests other people have found helpful.
What if I have more than one condition?
🍑 It is great if you can get some kind of medical evidence for each condition you have.
What if my tests are “normal”?
🍑 This is a common problem for CFS/ME patients. Jasmine came back “normal” on nearly all her tests and only had one or two slight abnormalities, but she still won her case in six months. How Jasmine Got Approved Despite “Normal” Test Results
🍑 Peony got a million tests from a million doctors and specialists. In the end, she came back normal on everything except two abnormalities on bloodwork: low vitamin B12 and high inflammation markers. She won her case in seven months. (Peony’s story is coming soon. Check back!)
🍑 Some people are not approved based on tests, they are approved based on one or more medical signs.
🍑 For mental health, testing is not as common. Some people ask their doctor to refer them to special psychiatric assessments, but many others are approved based on a history of records from psychiatrists or psychologists.
Will my tests prove I am disabled?
🍑 Some tests are meaningful on their own. For example, an excellent report from a neuro-psychological assessment may be strong evidence to help prove that you do not have enough ability to think, focus, concentrate or remember to hold a full-time job.
🍑 Other tests mean little or nothing on their own. For example, abnormal blood work means . . . you got abnormal blood work. Many people with abnormal blood work can still walk, sit, stand, bend, lift, think, focus, remember, and work full-time jobs. However, blood work can be a huge help if your doctor includes these results in an RFC form or doctor’s letter or if you collect other evidence to prove that you can’t work and function.
How do I know if Social Security will pay attention to my test results?
Will test results help without my doctor’s support?
🍑 If you do not have a doctor who is supporting your application, it is possible that the your test results may be helpful on their own if the test was performed or signed by an acceptable medical source. Sometimes a test will be helpful even without your doctor and without any acceptable medical source, but you can’t rely on that happening.
🍑 I said it before and I’ll say it again. You do not need a million tests. One or two tests with abnormal results are enough to win a claim. Please don’t spend all your time, money and energy on lab tests. Save up some of your time, money and energy on the next super-important-you-cannot-miss-this step: proving you can’t function.
Updated March 2017 by Lily Silver 🍑