In 2017 the Social Security Administration rules were revised, making changes to how medical information is used in evaluating disability claims. These rules specifically effected how Administrative Law Judges are required to evaluate medical evidence that has been submitted in support of Social Security disability claims.

Medical Evidence Rules Revisions

Will the Medical Evidence Evaluation Changes Affect My Claim?

Submitting medical evidence is a very important part of the SSDI claims process. In fact, the SSA states that this type of evidence is “the cornerstone of the disability determination” process. Whether you are filing a claim on your own or with the help of an advocate, the new rules may have an effect on your claim. If you filed a claim after March 27, 2017, you can expect the changes to affect you in a number of different ways, including:

1. Special Weight is No Longer Given to Medical Opinion

Typically, medical information provided with your claim includes professional medical opinions provided by your physician, psychiatrists or other medical specialists. Historically, more weight was given to these medical opinions. But under the new rules, no special weight will be given to the source of the opinion and reviewers must focus only on the substance.

2. Special Weight is No Longer Given to Decisions Made by Other Government Agencies

The changes to the medical evidence evaluation also removed the ability to consider previous disability decisions that may have been made by other government agencies. For example, VA disability ratings are not to be given special consideration when evaluating any medical information provided and making a decision on individuals SSDI eligibility.

3. Acceptable Medical Sources Expanded

The SSA rules were also changed to allow for new Acceptable Medical Sources (AMS) that can be used in evaluating eligibility, including:

  • Physicians Assistants
  • Advance Practice Registered Nurses
  • Licensed Audiologists and Optometrists

However, Registered Nurses, Chiropractors and Licensed Clinical Social Workers were not included. If you need help understanding the SSA rules, Law Office of Daniel Berger can help. Contact us today for more information.