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In seeking SSDI and SSI, it's all about the evidence

Have you ever seen the move "Jerry Maguire"? A big line from the film, one you can still hear applied in a lot of situations today is, "Show me the money!"

If you are an applicant for Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income, you may be inclined to add a please to the end of that line. And the response from any official at the Social Security Administration is likely to be, "Show me the evidence!"

As readers of this blog surely know, applications for SSDI and SSI are very often refused on the first submission. That triggers a complicated process of appeals that can be time consuming and frustrating. Very often the denials are issued because officials find that the medical evidence provided with the application came up short.

As information provided by the government attempts to stress, medical evidence is the crux of making any determination for benefits that might be sought. And as a read of the material on the official website makes plain, a note from your doctor is not going to be sufficient.

Each claim for disability requires the applicant to provide substantiation that they suffer from impairment. In addition, the application must detail how severe the impairment or impairments are. The SSA does appreciate that disabilities can develop over time, so medical evidence from a claimant's regular medical provider is typically favored, as long as the source is a properly licensed professional.

If your condition is physical in nature, the provider will need to be a medical or osteopathic doctor. If it involves a visual disorder, the information will need to come from an optometrist. Evidence of developmental, emotional or mental disabilities need to come from licensed therapists, school psychologists or other certified personnel.

The SSA does say it is prepared, with an applicant's permission, to help get all the reports that might be most helpful. But is that something you want to put in the hands of a government official? Action on applications and appeals already take significant time and with so much at stake, speed is of the essence.

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Melissa A. Proudian, Attorney at Law
1500 W. Shaw Avenue, Suite 403
Fresno, CA 93711

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