It’s great to collect records, forms, files and letters to show that you cannot function. But not all evidence is created equal.
Some evidence will be a small help in some situations.
Some evidence will be ignored or not considered.
And some evidence can be so good and so helpful it can win your entire case!
🌺 One: Check Your Source
The first thing to look at is who created this form, report or record for you. The best evidence is created or signed by an MD or by another kind of Acceptable Medical Source. If your medical evidence does not come from an Acceptable Medical Source, don’t worry, you still have some options: How to Turn Water Into Wine
🌺 Two: Get Objective
Social Security would like to see that you have some kind of “objective medical evidence.” Without this, Social Security may ignore all your great records, letters and reports! Your medical evidence can be an abnormal result on a lab test or it can be something your doctor finds while examining you. Learn more about how to get some objective medical evidence.
🌺 Three: Be Consistent
Social Security loves consistency. They like to see that everything you say and everything all your doctors say and everything everyone else says is all consistent. Consistency is really important for making sure that Social Security believes what you and your doctor are saying. How to Paint a Consistent Picture
Getting the Best Evidence
Files and records that come from a doctor are going to be very very very (very very very) different than files and records and letters from other places. Let’s take a look at some examples:
🌺 Letter Example
- A letter from a doctor that describes your functioning limitations – Yes! The best!
- A letter from your family member – Not helpful on it’s own. May be some help if it matches what is in your medical records.
🌺 Function Test Example
- Function test performed by a medical doctor – Yes! The best!
- Function test performed by a physical therapist – May or may not be helpful. Depends if your doctor writes that she agrees with the test results. Or includes the test results in an RFC form. Or writes similar things in your records. Or if the physical therapist has a supervising MD who can co-sign the report.
🌺 Medical Equipment Example
- Your doctor prescribes a wheelchair – Yes! The Best!
- You decide on your own to buy a wheelchair – Maybe! May be ignored.
🌺 Mental RFC Form Example
- Mental RFC form signed or co-signed by a psychologist – Yes! The best!
- Mental RFC form signed by a therapist – Maybe! May be ignored! Depends if it is similar to what is in the records from your doctor, psychologist or psychiatrist.
🌺 Sitting Up Example
- Your doctor writes in your medical records that you cannot sit up for more than 20 minutes – Yes! The best!
- You tell Social Security that you cannot sit up for more than 20 minutes – Not helpful on it’s own. May be helpful if it matches what is in your medical records.
Updated April 2017 by Lily Silver. Please comment below with stories, questions, input or ideas. Please let me know if any links on this page stop working. 🌺