When you apply for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), you will need to supply ample medical evidence to show the Social Security Administration how you qualify for disability benefits. This is because the Social Security Administration (SSA) needs to be sure that your medical condition is severe enough to prevent you from earning an income for at least 12 months.
Blue Book Listing Evidence
To make it easier for the SSA to make decisions about applications for SSDI, it has compiled a list of medical conditions that qualify for disability which are published in its Blue Book. Each medical condition that qualifies for disability has its own listing in the SSA’s Blue Book. And, the medical evidence—proving how the applicant is unable to work while suffering from their medical condition—that the SSA requires is also included in each medical condition’s Blue Book listing.
Each listing has specific criteria that the applicant for Social Security disability (SSD) benefits is required to meet if they wish to qualify for disability benefits. For example, the medical evidence required for an acute leukemia diagnosis is a definitive bone marrow examination. Additional diagnostic information is based on chromosomal analysis, cytochemical and surface marker studies on the abnormal cells. Recurrent leukemia needs to be documented by a peripheral blood, bone marrow, or cerebrospinal fluid examination, or by a testicular biopsy. Any initial and follow-up pathology reports should also be included as part of the evidence. Evidence of prostate cancer is radiological studies or findings at a physical examination.
If you cannot provide the evidence demanded by the Blue Book to ultimately have your medical condition accepted and approved for disability benefits by the SSA, you can undergo a Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) assessment. An RFC assessment is when a physician completes a form after assessing your capabilities in movement, sitting and standing in one place and how much weight you are able to carry from one place to another. The physician will also assess your mental capabilities too such as how well you are able to communicate.
What Doesn’t Count As Medical Evidence?
It is important to note that, if your medical evidence does not come from an acceptable source, it may not be accepted by the SSA.
Acceptable medical sources include the following:
- a licensed physician;
- a licensed psychologist;
- a licensed optometrist for impairments of visual disorders, or measurement of visual acuity and visual fields only;
- a licensed podiatrist for impairments of the foot, or foot and ankle only;
- a qualified speech-language pathologist for speech or language impairments only;
- a licensed audiologist for impairments of hearing loss, auditory processing disorders, and balance disorders;
- a licensed advanced practice registered nurse (APRN), of which there are 4 types which are:
- certified nurse midwife (CNM);
- nurse practitioner (NP);
- certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA);
- clinical nurse specialist (CNS).
Get Help With Your Claim
To be eligible for disability benefits, you need to submit evidence that (1) your disability is severe enough to make you unable to work for at least 12 months, and (2) the symptoms of your disability, as documented in the medical evidence you provide alongside your application, match the criteria of that condition’s listing in the SSA’s Blue Book.
Given how difficult it can be for disability applicants to get approved initially by the SSA, it is advised to get legal help from a disability attorney or disability advocate who can help you with your claim. This is because they specialize in helping people successfully get the disability benefits they need and, thereby, understand the medical evidence needed that can best support an applicant’s claim. Both disability attorneys and advocates can help their clients fill out their disability application, as well as obtain and submit the proper medical evidence alongside their SSDI application—ultimately providing their claimants with a higher likelihood of getting the benefits they may need.
To get connected with an independent, participating disability benefits attorney who subscribes to our website and can help you with your claim, complete the Free Case Evaluation form on this page today.