Winning a social security disability case requires medical evidence about the physical or mental conditions that limit your ability to work. You will need this evidence when the application is filed, when an appeal is filed, and again when you appear in front of a judge at a hearing. A Medical Source Statement or a Residual Functional Capacity Assessment is usually the best way to provide this kind of evidence.
What Is A Medical Source Statement
A Medical Source Statement is a form that your doctor can fill out. It summarizes your diagnosis, medical tests and your functional abilities. You will want to ask your primary care doctor and any specialist you have seen to fill one of these out for you. Of all of your records, this will be the best evidence of the severity of your medical conditions and the limitations you have as a result.
Ask Your Doctor To Be Specific
When your doctor fills out a medical source statement, ask her to be as specific as possible. Instead of just stating that you have back pain, the doctor should explain how that pain affects your functional abilities. For instance, she could explain that you have limitations in how long you can sit or stand. Other restrictions are important to list as well, like your inability to lift over five pounds or bend or reach overhead.
Many people file for disability and think that if they turn in all of their medical records, then they won’t need to submit a medical source statement. The problem with doing it that way is that the judge sees a lot of medical records about your diagnosis, but very little evidence about what the information in those records means. If you have an MRI that shows a tear in your shoulder, that tells the judge you have a tear but it doesn’t tell the judge how the tear affects your ability to move your shoulder or lift something, or raise your arm overhead. It leaves the judge guessing.
You want to make it easy for the judge to rule for you, so give her the evidence she needs to understand how your medical problems limit your work ability. Even if the doctor asks you to pay to have the form filled out, it will be the most important medical evidence in your case.