Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Acceptable Medical Sources

According to Social Security regulations, only "acceptable medical sources" can establish your medically determinable impairments. Chiropractors and physical therapists are not acceptable medical sources. However, according to Social Security rules, a "non-acceptable" medical source can provide persuasive evidence of the severity of your medical condition, and the limitations imposed by your condition. 

I represent a former paramedic with neck and back problems, whose Social Security Disability (“SSD”) application was approved today without a hearing. The Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) found that claimant’s spine problems met listing 1.04. The treating chiropractor provided MRIs of the claimant’s neck and back that revealed, among other things, cervical degenerative disc disease with ventral cord impingement and compression of the nerve roots. The chiropractor also provided an EMG that he performed, which confirmed cervical Radiculopathy. 

In addition to the claimant’s physician, the ALJ cited clinical findings by the chiropractor and physical therapist of neuroanatomic distribution of pain, limitation of motion of the spine, motor loss, and sensory reflex loss, as evidence of the claimant’s spine problems. The ALJ concluded that those clinical findings, together with the test findings of nerve root compression and cord impingement, met the requisite criteria of Listing 1.04(A). As a result, the claimant was able to avoid having to attend a hearing.

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