Medical Opinions from Non-Doctors

When you’re getting treatment for a disability, you’ll most likely get help from a variety of medical professionals. You might see doctors, nurses, chiropractors, nurse practitioners, or a physical therapist.

Although a medical professional might not be an traditional doctor, they can still offer valuable help and opinions. It’s important to know that the SSA ruled in 2006 that non-doctor medical professionals are acceptable sources of opinion for a disability hearing, but despite this ruling, Administrative Law Judges will sometimes favor the opinion of a traditional doctor over another medical professional. They might see the opinion of a nurse practitioner or chiropractor as less persuasive though it is in direct violation of protocol.

According to SSA regulations, medical professionals can be credible sources of opinion depending of the following factors:

  • How long the source has known and how frequently the source has seen the individual
  • How consistent the opinion is with other evidence
  • The degree to which the source presents relevant evidence to support an opinion
  • How well the source explains the opinion
  • Whether the source has a specialty or area of expertise related to the individual’s impairment(s)
  • Any other facts that tend to support or refute the opinion

It’s important to note that in some cases a doctor will be needed to make a proper diagnosis, but there are cases when other opinions are acceptable.

If you’ve been denied benefits because the medical opinion wasn’t from a doctor, you may be able to appeal. The appeals process isn’t short or easy, but it’s not impossible. With our help you can get the benefits you deserve.

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Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law

Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law