Medical Source Statements that describe a claimant’s functional restrictions and limitations are crucial to any type of disability claim, as it is the effect of a medical condition, not its mere diagnosis, that actually counts. For example, in POMS DI 22505.007, the Social Security Administration (“SSA”) discusses the importance of obtaining a functionality assessment from the claimant's treating doctor because he or she should have the most knowledge about the claimant’s impairments.
Because the SSA usually does not request functional assessments from claimants’ doctors, the claimant must do so. Historically, it was very difficult to obtain functional assessments for claimants who were treated through the Veterans Health Administration (“VHA”). However, that changed when the VHA issued a directive on October 29, 2008, 2008-071, which requires it to assist veterans with completing forms for various benefits, specifically including Social Security Disability (“SSD”) benefits.
A veteran retained me after his application for SSD benefits was denied. Citing the VHA directive, I was able to secure a functional assessment from the claimant’s treating physician at the VHA. With the addition of the VHA Medical Source Statement containing the claimant’s functional assessment, the SSA approved the claimant’s SSD benefits.