Yes and no. While the SSA will rely on the medical information you provide, a number of medical sources may be asked for their opinion of your condition during the decision process. Here are just a few health care providers who may be asked to evaluate your injury:
- Your doctors – Physicians, nurses, psychiatrists, physical therapists, or any other medical professional who has treated you in the past are the best sources of information for a disability application. These people are called treating sources, and are the first point of evidence that the SSA will use to determine whether or not you are disabled.
- Consultative examiners – If your application does not have enough medical information to make a decision, the SSA may contact a state branch near you to schedule a consultative exam. In these meetings, a licensed physician, psychiatrist, or specialist in the field of your disability will meet with you to evaluate your condition and gather more information about your disability. A consultative exam must be done by a physician with a valid State-issued license and have experience performing SSA disability exams.
- Program medical professionals – Many disability applications are first reviewed in Social Security branches in the applicant’s home state. Claims are typically reviewed by licensed New Jersey doctors who are paid to offer their unbiased medical opinion on your case, as they do not have any prior contact with the patient.
Although you may provide many different medical opinions to support your disability claim, you must remember that the SSA will ultimately make its decision based on whether you meet its definition of disabled. If you are denied benefits, it does not mean that you are able to work. In most cases, it means that you should provide additional evidence outlining how your condition makes it difficult to earn a living.
To find out how we can help you get the benefits you deserve, fill out the short contact form on this page and tell us about the problems you’ve been having.