If you have found this article first, please read Medical Source Statements –Part One before continuing. For more information, contact a Nampa Social Security Attorney in our office. This article covers SSR 96-2p, which is entitled “Giving Controlling Weight to Treating Source Medical Opinions” and provides your Social Security attorney with the criteria judges must use to evaluate the opinions of your doctors.
What If The Treating Source Opinion Is Not Entitled To Controlling Weight?
Even if a treating physician’s opinion is not entitled to controlling weight, your Social Security Attorney should attempt to show that your treating source medical opinions are still entitled to deference and must be weighed using all of the following factors:
- Examining relationship. Generally, Social Security gives more weight to the opinion of a source who has examined you than to the opinion of a source who has not examined you.
- Treatment relationship. Social Security looks at the length of the treatment relationship and the frequency of examinations as well as the nature of the treatment relationship. Generally, Social Security gives more weight to opinions from your treating sources, since these sources are likely to be the medical professionals most able to provide a detailed, picture of your medical impairment(s) over time and may bring a unique perspective to the medical evidence that cannot be obtained from the objective medical findings alone or from reports of individual examinations, such as consultative examinations or brief hospitalizations.
- Supportability. The better the explanation a source provides for the opinion given and the more evidence there is to support a medical source opinion, such as medical signs and laboratory findings, the more weight Social Security will give that opinion.
- Consistency. Generally, the more consistent an opinion is with the record as a whole, the more weight Social Security will give to that opinion.
- Specialization. Social Security generally gives more weight to the opinion of a specialist about medical issues related to his or her area of specialty than to the opinion of a source who is not a specialist.
- Other factors. Social Security will also consider any factors you or others bring to their attention that tend to support or contradict the opinion.
SSR 96-2p is very helpful to you and to your Social Security attorney in proving your disability. A judge must always give good reasons in his or her decision for the weight he or she gives to your treating source’s opinion. If your are denied disability, the decision denying benefits must contain specific reasons for the weight given to the treating source’s medical opinion, supported by the evidence in the case record, and must be sufficiently specific to make clear to any subsequent reviewers the weight the adjudicator gave to the treating source’s medical opinion and the reasons for that weight.
Remember: Social Security only has to give serious consideration to acceptable medical sources such as doctors. Other common treating sources are not entitled to this consideration. These “other sources” not entitled to such serious consideration include nurse-practitioners, physicians’ assistants, naturopaths, chiropractors, audiologists, and therapists, school teachers, counselors, early intervention team members, developmental center workers, and daycare center workers, social welfare agency personnel, and non-medical sources (for example, spouses, parents and other caregivers, siblings, other relatives, friends, neighbors, and clergy). Ask one of our Nampa Social Security attorneys if you have a question about whether your treating source is “Acceptable”.
Treating source means your own physician, psychologist, or other acceptable medical source who (1) provides you, or has provided you, with medical treatment or evaluation and (2) who has, or has had, an ongoing treatment relationship with you. Social Security will consider that you have an ongoing treatment relationship with an acceptable medical source when the medical evidence establishes that you see, or have seen, the source with a frequency consistent with accepted medical practice for the type of treatment and evaluation required for your medical condition. Social Security may consider an acceptable medical source who has treated or evaluated you only a few times or only after long intervals (e.g., twice a year) to be your treating source if the nature and frequency of the treatment or evaluation is typical for your condition. Social Security will not consider an acceptable medical source to be your treating source if your relationship with the source is not based on your medical need for treatment or evaluation, but solely on your need to obtain a report in support of your claim for disability.
This article on 96-2p is continued on the link below. Be sure to ask a Nampa Social Security Attorney in our office about getting a medical source statement to your doctor.
Click To Go To Part Three Of Social Security Attorney Medical Source Statements
Originally posted 2014-06-02 13:59:28.