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Why it is Necessary to Seek Treatment/Evaluation from an “Acceptable Medical Source” when Pursuing Social Security Disability

Posted in Social Security Basics

In the evaluation of your disability claim, the Social Security Administration will evaluate the day-to-day limitations caused by your medical conditions only after confirming that your medical conditions have been correctly diagnosed under their rules. The diagnosis of your medical condition(s) must be confirmed by a diagnosis from an “acceptable medical source”.

Under the Social Security regulations, medical providers who are considered to be an “acceptable medical source” for purposes of diagnosis and providing medical opinions are:

*       Licensed physicians (medical or osteopathic doctors)
*       Licensed or certified psychologists
*       Licensed optometrists (for the measurement of visual acuity and visual fields)
*       Licensed podiatrists (for purposes of establishing impairments of the foot, or foot/ankle only)
*       Qualified speech-language pathologists (for purposes of establishing speech or language impairments only)

The medical records from treating providers who are not on the SSA’s list of approved experts are still very important. These records inform the SSA about you and your treatment. They assist the SSA to determine how severe a medical condition is, the symptoms it causes and how your symptoms  limit  your ability to function physically and mentally. These records inform the SSA about the treatment you have received and how effective or ineffective it is. By regularly attending your scheduled medical appointments these records also inform the SSA about your motivation to cooperate with your healthcare providers and to try to get better.