How do I prove my claim?
To prove your disability claim you must have a diagnosis made by an acceptable medical source (MD, PA, NP, PsyD, PhD) of a medical condition that causes symptoms that prevent you from completing a forty hour work week. This medical condition or combination of conditions must have lasted or will last twelve months or longer. To prove this, you should have medical records from the time when you say you were disabled. In some cases, SSA will send you to a medical consultant to evaluate your physical and/or mental condition.
In addition to medical records, SSA will consider other evidence. This other evidence includes the statements you make in your application and the other forms that you fill out as well as what you say at your hearing before a judge. Many people fail to allege disabling symptoms in their own statements. You have to let SSA know why you cannot perform work you have done in the past or any other work that exists in significant numbers in the national economy.
In addition to your medical records and your own statements you can include other evidence. This may include statements from friends, family, and co-workers, or even former employers. These statements or other evidence should be relevant and help determine exactly how your symptoms limit your workplace performance.
Other evidence SSA will consider is your work history and earnings record. Earnings records can establish your diminishing ability to perform your job. They can also undermine your claim. For example, sometimes judges will consider continued earnings as evidence that you can work more.
The most helpful evidence is a medical opinion that establishes how your symptoms limit you in the workplace. These have to be carefully crafted. Recent rules allow judges to ignore a doctor's opinion that you are disabled or unable to work. Medical opinions should help a judge determine what you are and what you are not able to do in the workplace.