Although medical evidence is the centerpiece of a Social Security disability claim, non-medical evidence can play an important role, and help to persuade an administrative law judge that your are disabled from competitive employment.
Atlanta, Georgia Social Security disability attorney Jonathan Ginsburg wrote a good article on this subject, entitled “Unconventional, Non-Medical Evidence That Can Help You Win.” You should read it.
Attorney Ginsberg correctly notes that the medical record alone often does not contain a complete picture of a person’s capacity to work. Ideally, an opinion from your doctor will specify the functional limitations that prevent you from working. But you should not stop there. Non-medical evidence can contribute to your case.
Work records can be helpful. Those records may show a pattern of absences due to your medical condition. Or they may show that a person, before stopping work altogether, tried to stay employed with a series of jobs that were progressively less demanding. Written statements from co-workers or supervisors can also help to shed light on the difficulties experienced in the workplace. These statement can enhance a disability claimant’s credibility.
Attorney Ginsberg phrases the overall issue very well. The goal is “to paint a picture of a person who is applying for disability as a last resort and only because you cannot – not will not – work anymore.”
In addition to work records, I also will seek out statements from a spouse, family, or a friend. These also can help to paint that picture.