If you are considering applying for disability benefits under the Social Security Administration (SSA), you should understand the importance of evidence in the process of determining whether or not you are blind or disabled. When the SSA talks about evidence, what does that mean? Evidence can be almost anything that relates to your claim. Some examples of evidence are:
- Medical records
- Medical opinions and statements about treatment you have received
- Statements you or others make to the SSA
- Information from non-medical sources
- Opinions from medical and psychological consultants who work with the SSA who have reviewed your medical records
Under federal rules, you are responsible for proving to the SSA that you are blind or disabled. You must provide medical evidence about your impairment(s) and its severity during the time period you are alleging disability. If the SSA requests it, then you must provide evidence about:
- Your age
- Your education and training
- Your work experience
- Your daily activities
- Your efforts to work; and
- Any other factors showing how your impairments affect your ability to work.
You may feel overwhelmed by the idea of providing so much information to the SSA. Don’t worry. You are not alone. The SSA will assist in gathering evidence necessary to develop your medical history during the time period you are alleging disability. If you agree to let the SSA help you gather medical records from your doctors and other medical facilities, it will make every reasonable effort to do so.
After the SSA has gathered your medical records, there still may not be enough evidence to make a determination on whether you are blind or disabled. If that is the case, the SSA may ask you to attend a physical or mental examination, or other testing, at their expense. You will be informed by mail of the date and time of the appointment.
The SSA has another responsibility to you regarding evidence if they find that you are not disabled and can work. If they determine that you are capable of making adjustments to other work, they must provide evidence telling you exactly what jobs they think you can do.