How the SSA Determines Medical Impairments

If you are applying for Social Security disability benefits, and you live in the Oakland, California area, we strongly recommend that you consult with an Oakland disability attorney. A local disability law firm, such as LaPorte Law Firm with an office in downtown Oakland, can help you present evidence to Social Security of your medically determinable impairment. This evidence is necessary to prove your claim for disability benefits.

An Oakland Disability Attorney Explains How the SSA Evaluates Your Impairment
The SSA usually requires that a physician make an acceptable diagnosis of your impairment based upon a medical examination or review of your medical history. This evidence is in addition to your own description of your symptoms. When a doctor’s evaluation supports a finding of a medically determined impairment, the SSA will usually find that impairment exists. As an example, the SSA will need a diagnosis of fibromyalgia to be based on counting tender points.

In certain cases, however, it is possible for the SSA to make a determination based solely on your description of your symptoms. For instance, Social Security may find that your migraine headaches are medically determinable if:

  1. You describe a particular group of symptoms; and
  2. The doctor finds that no other factors are causing the symptoms.

Treating Physicians are not required to know the SSA’s Definition of Disability
As your Oakland disability lawyer can explain, Social Security does not require treating doctors to know the legal requirements for determining whether their patients are disabled. Rather, disability is determined by the definitions set forth in the regulations governing eligibility for Social Security disability benefits. . In fact, the SSA states that such a task is a legal determination, which makes it the responsibility of Social Security to decide whether a claimant is eligible for benefits. Your physician may present medical reports and testimony to describe your symptoms, treatment and limitations. The opinion of experts, such as treating doctors, is given weight by SSA in determining whether you meet the legal definition of “disabled.”

If you need an experienced Oakland disability attorney to assist you with applying for SSI or SSDI benefits, or filing an appeal if you were denied benefits, please call LaPorte Law Firm at 1-800-735-3425. The initial consultation is free.