To meet SSA’s definition of disability, the applicant’s diagnosis must be documented in medical records, laboratory reports, or other clinical findings of a physician or psychologist. DDS prefers that medical evidence come from an ongoing treatment provider. If this medical documentation is not available because the applicant has not received treatment for these conditions, we recommend that SOAR practitioners try to arrange for a physician or psychologist to conduct assessments, including documenting the applicant’s diagnosis and functioning, before submitting the SSI/SSDI application.
If it is not possible to arrange an evaluation before submitting the application, DDS may arrange for a consultative exam (CE) for the applicant, including physical or psychiatric testing based on the applicant’s alleged conditions. More information about CEs can be found here. In these instances, it is especially important that the SOAR practitioner provides comprehensive information about the applicant’s impairments in functioning through the Medical Summary Report. Collateral information from caseworkers, family members, and former employers can also be helpful in supporting an application with limited medical documentation.