California residents seeking Social Security Disability must provide sufficient evidence of the disability in order to be considered eligible for benefits. Making this determination is critically important to receiving benefits. It may also be one of the most difficult challenges a person must overcome.
Medical evidence is considered the primary source for making the disability determination. The Social Security Administration will use a person’s medical records as the first source of information. The medical evidence must be considered objective and it must be from an acceptable medical source. In addition to determining the existence of an impairment, the SSA will also determine the severity of the impairment, how long the person has suffered the impairment and whether or not the person could continue to do some work-related mental or physical tasks with the impairment.
Sometimes, the existing medical records are not sufficient for the SSA to make a proper determination. It will request that the claimant gain additional information by contacting the source of the records, such as a healthcare professional or hospital. The claimant may also have a consultative examination, which specifically addresses the SSA’s concerns and needs as to additional information on the impairment. The SSA does offer to pay for such an examination if it is needed.
The SSA uses a very wide range of information and records to determine whether a person is eligible for Social Security Disability benefits. The SSA also has very little incentive to aggressively pursue additional information. It is mostly the claimant’s responsibility to provide the best and most current information and update that information throughout the determination process, which can often take months. Assembling the proper records and evidence is important to the process. An attorney may be able to help a client submit a proper and complete claim the first time and support a client through the determination process.