Effective March 27, 2017, Social Security has changed its long-standing policy about how it treats medical records and opinion evidence form your treating physician. Prior to March 27, 2017, evidence from your treating physicians would be given “controlling weight” by a Social Security adjudicator or judge.
Now, records and opinions from your long time treating doctors will be given no special weight. Instead, medical opinions from your treating doctor, consultative doctors and even non-examining medical consultants will be evaluated equally based on “persuasiveness.”
What does this change mean to you?
At first glance, this rule change seems to make no sense at all. Clearly a physician who has treated you for 10 years would have a more educated opinion about your capacity for work than a consultative doctor who met you once 2 years ago for 45 minutes, or a Social Security in house doctor who only knows you through his review of your medical records.
And, yes, there is a danger that a judge who has made up his mind not to approve your case will now have an easier time justifying a denial of your case. Continue reading →