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Social Security Disability, SSI: Medical Opinions at Hearing

Previous blogs have discussed why you need a physician opinion in your Social Security Disability claim or claim for Supplemental Security Income. One issue that is often asked is if my doctor believes I am disabled, does his opinion control? Medical Treatment for SSD, SSI Hearing It is a long held tenant of disability law that the opinion of a treating physician is entitled to controlling weight when accompanied by clinical and diagnostic techniques. Ward v. Chater, 924 F. Supp. 53, 55 (W.Va. 1996); see also, SSR 96-2p (explaining that a treating source medical opinion is controlling if supported by clinical and diagnostic techniques and not inconsistent with other evidence). The Commissioner has discretion in this matter “only if [the opinion] is not well-supported by clinical evidence or is inconsistent with other substantial evidence.” Mastro v. Apfel, 270 F.3d 171, 178 (4th Cir. 2001). “It is well-settled that an ALJ should not substitute his own untrained medical opinion for that of a medical professional.” Slen v. Astrue, 1:09-CV-607, 2010 WL 2640297 (E .D. Va. June 30, 2010)(citing Wilson v. Heckler, 743 F.2d 218, 221 (4th Cir. 1984)). The law is clear, the decisions often are not, as your treating physician must explain how over a period of multiple visits his or her examinations and tests have revealed your medical condition. A good opinion also explains how this condition affects your functional capacity (ability to walk, crawl, climb, lift, etc). Good treating physicians rely upon a history of treating a patient to explain their opinion as to their work or vocational abilities. The more detailed the explaination the easier for the ALJ (administrative law judge) to give weight to the treating physician. To learn more about Social Security visit us at : O'Malley Tunstall

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