When the Social Security Administration (“SSA”) evaluates medical opinions, the two most important factors are supportability and consistency. The more consistent a medical opinion is with the evidence from other medical sources and nonmedical sources, the more persuasive the medical opinion will be. Evidence from nonmedical sources should not be overlooked.
We represent a 47 year old nurse from Bethpage with polycythemia and mental impairments. In connection with the claimant’s Social Security Disability (“SSD”) application, we submitted letters from his friends and relatives, which described their observations about the way his impairments progressively restricted his ability to function. The administrative law judge (“ALJ”) found their opinions “somewhat persuasive” because they were consistent with the treatment reports of the claimant’s treating sources.
The ALJ found the opinions of the state agency medical consultants regarding the claimant’s physical and mental functioning abilities “not Persuasive” because additional evidence was provided after their reviews. The ALJ found the opinion of the treating physician to be the most persuasive because, among other things, it was the most consistent with the record as a whole.
Providing detailed descriptions from third parties concerning how a claimant’s affect their ability to do things, and how their behavior has evolved, adds strength to the argument that the treating doctor’s opinion should be considered persuasive.
If you are planning on applying for Social Security Disability benefits, it is in your best interest to retain an attorney who specializes in disability. Please call our office for a free phone consultation. Our offices are conveniently located in both Nassau and Suffolk counties on Long Island.
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