How do I Know if My Function Forms and Records are “Good Enough”?

Floral-Tree-4It’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. 🌺

5 thoughts on “How do I Know if My Function Forms and Records are “Good Enough”?”

  1. Shouldn’t a well trained lawyer, guide a client and help build your case? I find the article exhausting, let alone calling, researching and traveling. My last lawyers office, paralegals, not lawyers, made me build my own case ..he didn’t even know the names of the forms or ask my doctors to fill any out. Any advise on who to use in the Cincinnati Ohio area?



    1. Hi Emily,

      From what I have seen, your situation is unfortunately very common.

      If you are able to find a good lawyer, I hope they will be able to assist your cases. It can also be a great help if you are able to take some steps to help your case as well.

      To be honest, many people report that lawyers do not give them a lot of guidance and information on how to strengthen there case, and some lawyers actively tell their clients to do nothing but sit and wait for a decision.

      There are some exceptions. There are definitely some lawyers who give a lot of suggestions or help a lot.

      But we’ve also heard from many people whose lawyers never told them anything they could do. Just gave some coaching on how to answer questions at a hearing, and never suggested a single other thing they could do to help their case!

      Many of our readers found that asking for help from a friend or family member made a big difference, if they were not well enough to take steps on their own.

      This is a page where you can find info on lawyers:

      Hope it goes great for you.


      1. My attorney was awesome. She explained things, read my records, advised me which doctor to ask for a letter, coached me on presentation… unfortunately for disability applicants she practices in another area now, but the other folks are lucky to have her.

        Some other websites and attorneys had advised to wait to get an attorney until being denied twice, but she said she took cases from the beginning. I am guessing that would make things go better because I get confused on forms and don’t always answer the exact question asked.


        1. Thank you for answering..i barely remember asking.

          Unfortunately, i have gotten so ill and brain fogged, with terrible anxiety, to the point of being unable to search for an attorney at this time.
          I am hoping my new doctor will help me, She ordered genetic testing and an ACTH stim and then growth hormone testing after that. She thinks outside the box. I have found genetic mutations that left me susceptible to all my ailments. I am unable to research treatments at this time. Unfortunately, she is hard to contact and i get really scared at how alone i am thru all of this. So much stress and then i just relapse, but am never functional, just less so now.

          How are you?


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