Whether you are seeking Social Security Disability Insurance benefits for a mental health issue or a physical disability, you have to meet some evidence requirements to quality. One of the specific things required by SSDI before you can be approved for benefits is medical documentation regarding your disability. That documentation must come from what the Social Security Administration calls an “acceptable medical source.”
The primary word in the SSA’s definition of an acceptable medical source seems to be licensed. For the most part, the SSA is looking for documentation from a licensed professional with credentials that are relevant to the type of disability you are claiming.
If you are claiming a mental health condition is causing your disability, then the SSA is likely to want to see documentation from professionals such as medical doctors or licensed psychologists. The SSA says that school psychologists are only acceptable sources with regard to issues that relate to intellectual disability or learning disabilities.
In the same vein, a licensed optometrist would be an acceptable source to document your vision-based disability but would not be acceptable as part of evidence for a mental health disability or another type of physical ailment. It’s important to ensure that the medical evidence associated with your claim is coming from the right type of medical professional.
The SSA is often more willing to accept evidence presented by a professional who is actively treating you because it believes that a health care professional is more likely to fully understand any condition you might have. While it could be important to present evidence from several medical sources, know that the Administration might place an emphasis on a treating provider. If you are having difficulty getting benefits for a disability you believe you have, working with a lawyer can you help you understand what information you might be missing.
Source: Social Security Administration, “Disability Evaluation Under Social Security,” accessed July 15, 2016