This is the fourth of four articles on recently rescinded Social Security Rulings(SSR). This article explains how the rescinding of SSR 06-03p negatively affects claimants.  SSR 06-03p is entitled Titles II and XVI: Considering Opinions and Other Evidence from Sources Who Are Not “Acceptable Medical Sources” in Disability Claims; Considering Decisions on Disability by Other Governmental and Nongovernmental Agencies.

The stated purpose of this ruling is: To clarify how we consider opinions from sources who are not “acceptable medical sources” and how we consider decisions by other governmental and nongovernmental agencies on the issue of disability or blindness. The ruling really has two parts. The first part was to assist the claimant in proving the severity of a disability and the second part was to make sure that decisions from other agencies like the VA were considered.

The first part of the ruling applies when a non-medically accepted source, like a social worker, gives an opinion about the severity of the claimant’s condition. The Social Security Administration (SSA) had to evaluate the opinion based on 6 factors:

  1. How long the source knew the claimant
  2. How frequently the source had seen the claimant
  3. How consistent the opinion was with the evidence
  4. What degree the source presented relevant evidence to support the opinion;
  5. How well the source explained the opinion;
  6. Whether the source was a specialist and any other factors that tend to support or refute the opinion.

These non-medically acceptable source opinions are evaluated based on SSR 16-3p, for consistency and supportability. The fact that a non-medically acceptable source makes the opinions have less weight because they don’t use the factors that were in SSR 06-03p and also because the SSA  evaluates claims by looking at what their doctors say.

When a claimant gets to court they have been denied twice. That means that the SSA has two opinions that are inconsistent with the opinions of the non-medically acceptable source opinions that are being evaluated for the consistency with the other evidence.  Therefore any non-acceptable medical expert opinion is always going to be inconsistent with the Social Security doctor’s opinion.  

The second part of this ruling allowed for the judges to consider other opinions such as a VA decision. Some of the VA decisions state a person is 100 percent disabled and unemployable. Currently, in the area, we live the Federal Courts have said this makes a person disabled for a Social Security case. The Social Security judges don’t  even have to discuss or evaluate these decisions. This is truly sad for Social Security Disability applicants.

Have you considered applying for SSD benefits or has your application been denied for benefits? Our office can help at all levels of the Social Security Disability application process. Contact the Good Law Group online for a free case evaluation or call #(847) 577-4476.