Social Security disability's evidentiary requirements | Law Office of Jennifer Zorrilla
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Social Security disability's evidentiary requirements

Californians who have suffered a debilitating injury or illness need to fully understand the legal options available to them. After all, financial relief may be available to those living with a disability; however, only after successfully applying for Social Security disability benefits. When obtained, these benefits can provide monthly payments to an individual suffering from a disability, allowing him or her to find the financial stability he or she deserves. Although the Social Security Administration lists the injuries and illnesses that may qualify for SSD benefits, proving that one meets the federal requirements necessary to be deemed "disabled" can be quite challenging.

The SSA has strict evidentiary guidelines. Although it may be obvious that medical evidence is of paramount importance to one of these claims, what may not be as obvious is the fact that it must demonstrate that the claimant suffers from impairment. That evidence must be garnered from an acceptable medical source. Of course, "acceptable medical source" is defined by the government.

But the evidentiary requirements don't stop there. A disabled individual must also present evidence of the condition's severity. Here, both medical and nonmedical evidence may be used. However, the SSA requires that a claimant submit all evidence related to his or her disability. This includes evidence that may tend to show that he or she is not disabled. It may also include nonmedical sources that work against the claimant's position. If the SSA finds the claimant's evidence to be inadequate, then the claimant may be asked to undergo a consultative examination. In some instances, that exam must be conducted by a doctor of the SSA's choosing.

As one can see, there can be a lot of gray areas when it comes to analyzing the evidence used to supplement and even adjudicate a SSD claim. This leaves this area ripe for legal argument. While the SSA may be looking for reasons to deny one's claim, a claimant can choose to have a legal advocate on his or her side to give compelling arguments as to why the claim should be granted.

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