A recent decision in a Federal District Court held that a nurse's treating records for Social Security disability cases must be considered by the Administrative Law Judge, despite the same not being considered "acceptable medical sources".
In the case, Taylor v. Astrue, 899 F. Supp. 2d 83 (D. Mass., 2012), the judge noted that while a nurse's notes or opinions are not considered "acceptable medical sources" the same must still be evaluated by the Administrative Law Judge with some amount of weight to be given at the judge's discretion. The facts in the case indicated that the Administrative Law Judge did not articulate the amount of weight he provided the nurse's notes with regard to Claimant's medical conditions and corresponding treatment. The Federal District Court held that this failure was grounds for remand.
The key takeaway from this holding is clear: continue to get medical treatment for your conditions. If you cannot get treatment by a doctor, do not worry. Your case can still be strong by continuing with medical treatment by a nurse.
Remember, generally speaking, the more consistent treatment documenting your medical conditions, the better your case. With this holding, an Administrative Law Judge must still consider the notes by nurses and must clearly state the amount of evidentiary weight assigned to the records. Should you have any questions regarding your Social Security Disability benefits (SSDI) case or your Supplemental Security Insurance (SSI) case, please contact your attorney. The experienced attorneys at Gardberg & Kemmerly will help answer all of your questions and guide you through this administrative process.