Consideration of medical opinions depends on the filing date of the case. For claims
with a filing date on or after March 27, 2017, follow the guidance in DI 24503.030, "Articulation Requirements for Medical Opinions and Prior Administrative Medical
Findings – Claims filed on or after March 27, 2017." For claims filed before March
27, 2017, follow guidance in DI 24503.035, "Evaluation and Articulation Requirements for Medical Opinions, Opinions, and Prior
Administrative Medical Findings – Claims filed before March 27, 2017."
Physicians and other acceptable medical sources (AMSs) are qualified as experts in
matters pertaining to medicine and the evaluation of impairments. However, “disability,”
as defined by the Social Security Act, encompasses not only the medical factors of
impairment, but also the consideration of such nonmedical factors as age, education,
past work experience, and daily activities.
Occasionally, a physician or other AMS may include conclusions or opinions in the
medical records regarding the individual's abilities. When medical sources make statements
about issues that are reserved to the Commissioner, regarding an individual’s abilities,
such as “totally and permanently disabled,” “unable to work,” or “cannot return to
any work,” the rationale must explain whether medical and nonmedical evidence substantiates
these opinions. This explanation must describe any relevant program provisions, such
as work incentives, and relate them directly to the adjudicator’s conclusions.