Social Security Administration (“SSA”) regulations require Administrative Law Judges (“ALJs”) to assign weight to all medical opinions. ALJs must also discuss the factors explaining the level of weight assigned. The question arises, if your doctor’s opinion supports your disability claim, then how much weight does an ALJ need to assign that opinion for you to win?
An ALJ gives controlling weight to an opinion if it is well-supported by medically recognized clinical and laboratory diagnostic techniques, and is not inconsistent with the rest of the medical evidence. That requires the ALJ to approve disability benefits. However, what happens if the ALJ gives less than controlling weight to your doctor’s opinion, can you still win your case?
The answer is yes. Frequently, ALJ’s give great or greatest weight to treating physician opinions when they approve disability benefits. I represent a 38 year old former administrative assistant and stockbroker whose Social Security Disability application was approved today after the ALJ gave “significant weight” to the opinions of four treating specialists.