The recent changes in Social Security regulations do contain one bit of good news. For those cases filed or or after March 27, 2017, Social Security will accept the opinions of a larger group of medical professionals. Social Security has a list of those practitioners it considers worthy of rendering persuasive opinions. Historically, this has been limited to medical doctors. But now, Social Security will also consider what the following medical professionals have to say:
* Physician's Assistants
* Advanced Practice Registered Nurses
* Licensed audiologists
* Licensed optometrists
A Welcome Change
This is a welcome change. The practice of medicine has greatly changed over the past decades. Substantially more care is provided by persons other than medical doctors. These changes will mean that Social Security's review of the medical evidence will be more in line with the realities of how people get medical treatment. Before this rule change, Social Security could elect to simply disregard the person who has been treating you simply because of that person's status. This was unfair, given that most people have little say in who provides their medical care.
Mental Health Cases To See Biggest Impact
This change is likely to have the biggest impact on mental health cases. Most persons getting psychiatric care rarely, if ever, see a medical doctor. Virtually all of the care is provided by such people as Physicians Assistants and Nurse Practitioners.
Social Security took away the treating source rule, but this expansion of who can offer medical testimony may help to alleviate that change. While your Nurse Practitioner may not have the final word on your care, at least Social Security will be listening to what he has to say.