Title 20: Employees' Benefits
CHAPTER III: SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION
PART 404: FEDERAL OLD-AGE, SURVIVORS AND DISABILITY INSURANCE (1950- )
Subpart P: Determining Disability and Blindness
404.1512 - Evidence.
(a) General. In general, you have to prove to us that you are blind or disabled. Therefore, you must bring to our attention everything that shows that you are blind or disabled. This means that you must furnish medical and other evidence that we can use to reach conclusions about your medical impairment(s) and, if material to the determination of whether you are blind or disabled, its effect on your ability to work on a sustained basis. We will consider only impairment(s) you say you have or about which we receive evidence.
(b) What we mean by ?evidence.? Evidence is anything you or anyone else submits to us or that we obtain that relates to your claim. This includes, but is not limited to:
(1) Objective medical evidence, that is, medical signs and laboratory findings as defined in ? 404.1528 (b) and (c);
(2) Other evidence from medical sources, such as medical history, opinions, and statements about treatment you have received;
(3) Statements you or others make about your impairment(s), your restrictions, your daily activities, your efforts to work, or any other relevant statements you make to medical sources during the course of examination or treatment, or to us during interviews, on applications, in letters, and in testimony in our administrative proceedings;
(4) Information from other sources, as described in ? 404.1513(d);
(5) Decisions by any governmental or nongovernmental agency about whether you are disabled or blind; and
(6) At the administrative law judge and Appeals Council levels, and at the reviewing official, administrative law judge, and Decision Review Board levels in claims adjudicated under the procedures in part 405 of this chapter, findings, other than the ultimate determination about whether you are disabled, made by State agency medical or psychological consultants and other program physicians or psychologists, and opinions based on their review of the evidence in your case record expressed by medical experts or psychological experts that we consult. See ? 404.1527(f)(2)-(3).
(c) Your responsibility. You must provide medical evidence showing that you have an impairment(s) and how severe it is during the time you say that you are disabled. You must provide evidence, without redaction, showing how your impairment(s) affects your functioning during the time you say that you are disabled, and any other information that we need to decide your claim. If we ask you, you must provide evidence about:
(1) Your age;
(2) Your education and training;
(3) Your work experience;
(4) Your daily activities both before and after the date you say that you became disabled;
(5) Your efforts to work; and
(6) Any other factors showing how your impairment(s) affects your ability to work. In ?? 404.1560 through 404.1569, we discuss in more detail the evidence we need when we consider vocational factors.
(d) Our responsibility. Before we make a determination that you are not disabled, we will develop your complete medical history for at least the 12 months preceding the month in which you file your application unless there is a reason to believe that development of an earlier period is necessary or unless you say that your disability began less than 12 months before you filed your application. We will make every reasonable effort to help you get medical reports from your own medical sources when you give us permission to request the reports.
(1) ?Every reasonable effort? means that we will make an initial request for evidence from your medical source and, at any time between 10 and 20 calendar days after the initial request, if the evidence has not been received, we will make one followup request to obtain the medical evidence necessary to make a determination. The medical source will have a minimum of 10 calendar days from the date of our followup request to reply, unless our experience with that source indicates that a longer period is advisable in a particular case.
(2) By ?complete medical history,? we mean the records of your medical source(s) covering at least the 12 months preceding the month in which you file your application. If you say that your disability began less than 12 months before you filed your application, we will develop your complete medical history beginning with the month you say your disability began unless we have reason to believe your disability began earlier. If applicable, we will develop your complete medical history for the 12-month period prior to (1) the month you were last insured for disability insurance benefits (see ? 404.130), (2) the month ending the 7-year period you may have to establish your disability and you are applying for widow's or widower's benefits based on disability (see ? 404.335(c)(1)), or (3) the month you attain age 22 and you are applying for child's benefits based on disability (see ? 404.350(e)).
(e) Recontacting medical sources. When the evidence we receive from your treating physician or psychologist or other medical source is inadequate for us to determine whether you are disabled, we will need additional information to reach a determination or a decision. To obtain the information, we will take the following actions.
(1) We will first recontact your treating physician or psychologist or other medical source to determine whether the additional information we need is readily available. We will seek additional evidence or clarification from your medical source when the report from your medical source contains a conflict or ambiguity that must be resolved, the report does not contain all the necessary information, or does not appear to be based on medically acceptable clinical and laboratory diagnostic techniques. We may do this by requesting copies of your medical source's records, a new report, or a more detailed report from your medical source, including your treating source, or by telephoning your medical source. In every instance where medical evidence is obtained over the telephone, the telephone report will be sent to the source for review, signature and return.
(2) We may not seek additional evidence or clarification from a medical source when we know from past experience that the source either cannot or will not provide the necessary findings.
(f) Need for consultative examination. If the information we need is not readily available from the records of your medical treatment source, or we are unable to seek clarification from your medical source, we will ask you to attend one or more consultative examinations at our expense. See ?? 404.1517 through 404.1519t for the rules governing the consultative examination process. Generally, we will not request a consultative examination until we have made every reasonable effort to obtain evidence from your own medical sources. However, in some instances, such as when a source is known to be unable to provide certain tests or procedures or is known to be nonproductive or uncooperative, we may order a consultative examination while awaiting receipt of medical source evidence. We will not evaluate this evidence until we have made every reasonable effort to obtain evidence from your medical sources.
(g) Other work. In order to determine under ? 404.1520(g) that you are able to make an adjustment to other work, we must provide evidence about the existence of work in the national economy that you can do (see ?? 404.1560 through 404.1569a), given your residual functional capacity (which we have already assessed, as described in ? 404.1520(e)), age, education, and work experience.
[56 FR 36954, Aug. 1, 1991, as amended at 65 FR 11875, Mar. 7, 2000; 65 FR 34957, June 1, 2000; 68 FR 51161, Aug. 26, 2003; 71 FR 16444, Mar. 31, 2006]