When a person is unable to work for at least a year or more due to a physical or a mental impairment, the person can be considered disabled and can apply for benefits from Social Security. When a person applies for social security disability benefits, it must first be determined if the claim is valid, as not all people are eligible for these benefits.
To confirm the authenticity of the disability claim, medical evidence, along with other proof will be checked thoroughly. Hence, health professionals have an important role in the process of accepting or denying Social Security Disability Claims. The health professional can be a consultative examination source, a medical source, a treating source, a medical consultant or a medical expert.
A treating source is usually the person’s own physician, who has provided medical treatment for the person. The medical professional treating the person is considered the best source to ascertain the nature and severity of the person’s impairment. If additional tests are required, the Social Security Administration can consider the treating source to perform such tests on the person. The treating source cannot determine whether the person is disabled, but is expected to provide a statement regarding the ability of the person to work despite the impairment.
When the medical evidence from the treating source or other medical sources is insufficient, additional examination is sought by consultative examiners for the disability determination services. Medical experts can also be asked to give testimony on complex medical issues by the administrative law judges. Other than this, speech-language pathologists, psychologists and other medical professionals who have no contact with the person, review disability benefits claims.
Source: Social Security Administration, “Disability Evaluation Under Social Security,” accessed on Nov. 28, 2014