If you’re hoping to receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits, you probably realize that you need sufficient medical evidence to support your claim.
However, not every medical provider is considered “acceptable” under the Social Security Administration’s (SSA’s) rules. This can prove problematic if you prefer alternative medical therapies to modern medicine. If you’ve been diagnosed by a homeopathic provider, for example, SSA is unlikely to accept that diagnosis as concrete evidence in support of your claim.
Who can provide a diagnosis that SSA will consider valid?
To accept your diagnosis as valid, SSA wants to see a diagnosis from:
- A Medical Doctor (MD) or Doctor of Osteopathy (DO)
- Qualified nurse practitioners (NPs) or physician assistants (PAs)
- Specialists, such as rheumatologists, neurologists and cardiologists
- A licensed/certified psychologist or psychiatrist (if you suffer from a mental health issue)
- Speech and language pathologists or occupational therapists
- Doctors who specialize in certain kinds of care, such as ophthalmologists or optometrists
Complementary and alternative medical providers can still be helpful. Generally speaking, SSA will take information about your limitations from almost any source – once they have established the fact that you have a specific impairment that could be disabling.
That means that it’s not entirely useless to include information in your application about alternative treatments you’ve tried or providers you’ve visited, including acupuncturists, homeopathic providers, naturopathic treatments or chiropractic care – but they can’t be your only sources of evidence.
Understanding the intricacies of how SSA evaluates a claim for disability benefits can be extremely difficult for the average person, and unfair denials are common. If you’re struggling to get your SSDI claim approved, there is legal help available.