Medical Source Statements

By: Disability Group

Often, applicants don’t understand why they have been denied benefits when their own doctors have stated that they are disabled. Such broad statements alone, even when they come from an applicant’s treating doctor, are generally given little weight. It is important to understand that in order to be considered disabled under Social Security’s standards, various rules and regulations apply.

The final decision as to whether an individual is disabled rests with the Commissioner. Therefore, it helps to obtain a statement from a treating doctor about the limitations that accompany a particular diagnosis. With that, the Judge can decide whether an applicant can work based on the cited limitations. If the limitations are significant, they will substantially interfere with many of the exertional and non-exertional abilities mentioned above. If the limiations are mild, however, it may direct a conclusion that there is still some work the claimant can do.

Documentation and statements from doctors should list all diagnoses and limitations. For example, certain conditions may preclude someone from working due to an inability to concentrate, excessive fatigue or an inability to be around the public or co-workers due to a psychological problem. A thorough description of a person’s limitations provided by a treating doctor is one of the strongest forms of evidence.

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