expert witness disability hearing

Why Do I Need a Medical Expert in My SSD Case?

When you apply for Social Security Disability benefits, you have to meet the Social Security Administration’s requirements for determining that you are sufficiently impaired by your illness or injury. This rule applies to disability applications, including Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. A medical expert can be useful in building your case for benefits.

The Social Security Administration (SSA) uses the Listing of Impairments – Adult Listings, also called the Blue Book, to evaluate the severity of your medical condition. The Blue Book contains highly technical criteria, including specific test results, the SSA uses to measure your level of impairment. A Michigan SSDI attorney can guide you through the application process and answer your questions, such as, “Why do I need a medical expert in my SSD case?

Evidence the SSA Requires to Process SSD Benefits Applications

You have to prove to the SSA that you have a significant medical condition and that the illness or injury is severe enough to impair your ability to function. The SSA requires credible medical evidence in order to establish or prove both of these factors. 

First, you have to submit or allow the SSA to access copies of your medical records, also called “objective medical evidence” from an “acceptable medical source” to prove that you have the medical condition. Once you convince SSA that you have a significant medical condition that they consider potentially disabling, you then have to show that your illness or injury is severe enough to interfere with your ability to work and support yourself.

Usually, the medical evidence comes from the records of medical professionals like doctors, hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare providers and facilities. These records are kept to track your medical visits, and include important factors that will be considered in your disability claim, such as symptoms, diagnoses, exam findings, test results and more. When evaluating the extent of your impairment, SSA will also review other statements from non-medical sources, like your testimony, your friends and family members, people from your place of employment, neighbors, caregivers, and public or private social welfare agency personnel, for example. These medical and non-medical statements and evidence may be viewed favorably, or unfavorably, in your case, depending on what information is contained and other factors as well, such as consistency and supportability with other reports and findings. 

How a Medical Expert Can Help in Your SSD Claim

A medical expert can provide testimony SSA needs to determine the existence and severity of your medical condition. The Blue Book contains minimum thresholds for hundreds of specific medical conditions. SSA also allows people to apply for SSD benefits if they have an impairment from an injury or illness not contained in the Blue Book. 

In that situation, SSA must find that the medical condition(s) is as severe and disabling as some other condition in the Blue Book. These applications are an uphill battle, so a medical expert can help in the process by providing expert testimony to build your case for SSD benefits. Even in cases that fall neatly into a disease contained in the Blue Book, the SSA denies the vast majority of applications for SSDI or SSI benefits on the initial filing.

Most cases have to go through at least one level of the appeals process before the disabled person gets awarded SSDI or SSI benefits. A Michigan SSDI attorney can help you prepare your disability benefits application to reduce the likelihood of a denial of benefits. An experienced disability firm in Michigan, like Disability Law Group, can help you navigate the complex disability process and help obtain all supportive evidence – from medical and non-medical sources – to help increase your chances of being approved the first time around.  Contact our office today.