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What evidence does Social Security expect to approve benefits?

Private insurance companies tend to be pretty strict about what evidence they want and how they want it when it comes to making determinations about what claims they will pay and which they will not. It should surprise no one in Fresno or the rest of California that the Social Security Administration is no less particular.

Anyone with direct experience of the processes would likely argue that the government is even stricter than private insurers. That's one of the reasons why someone considering filing Social Security Disability Insurance benefits or facing the prospect of having to go through appealing a denial may benefit from working with a skilled attorney.

What follows is not a comprehensive presentation of all what the SSA expects to receive from claimants. It's merely a taste. But it provides a certain level of insight into the nature of the scrutiny that claims are put through.

As many might suspect, medical evidence is at the heart of disability determinations. And the responsibility of providing clear and detailed information about the nature of the impairment rests with the filer. But not all sources of medical information are considered acceptable.

Those that are include:

Licensed physicians -- either medical doctors or doctors of osteopathy.

Licensed or certified mental health professionals; in cases where benefits are sought for a child with learning or intellectual disabilities, school psychologists might suffice.

A licensed optometrist can offer evidence where visual disorders are involved.

A licensed podiatrist can be the source of evidence for foot impairments, but there can be restrictions on this so it's important to be sure you are in compliance where they might apply.

A qualified speech-language pathologists is deemed to be qualified if they hold a Certificate of Clinical Competence from the American-Speech-Language-Hearing Association, are licensed by the proper authorities in the state in which you live or are fully certified by state education officials.

Current SSA practice is to emphasize obtaining evidence from the professional directly treating the condition of cause. Such direct and likely long-term experience with the claimant is seen to be of more value than medical report documents.

Considering how important SSDI benefits are likely to be for the recipient, it's clear that presenting a solid case is crucial.

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Melissa A. Proudian, Attorney at Law
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Fresno, CA 93711

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