What Should a Good MSS Say?

The Social Security Administration has recognized that an opinion by your doctor about the nature and severity your medical problems are given "special significance" and that "medical opinions of treating sources are entitled to "controlling weight". What does this mean? It means that a medical source statement (MSS), if done right, can be a big help on your journey to obtaining social security disability benefits.

A convincing medical opinion from your doctor should focus on your medical diagnoses and limitations. When developing a convincing medical source statement, there are three main ideas that should be covered.

First the physician’s area of practice needs to be stated. This can include a general practitioner, specialist, psychologist or any other medical provider that you have seen. Typically, the statement should come from a doctor that has seen you regularly and is familiar with your conditions. If your doctor is not familiar with your conditions, then your doctor's opinion is less credible.

Second, the physician conducting the MSS should simply lay out all of your symptoms and diagnoses. This may seem simple enough, but make sure that ALL symptoms and diagnoses are expressed. By doing this, it helps eliminate confusion between you, the doctor, the attorney, the vocational expert, and the judge.

Third, you physician should give his or her opinion on how  your symptoms would affect your ability to perform typical activities that are required at a workplace. For example, your doctor should discuss how your ability to do activities such as sitting, standing, using your hands, and/or concentrating over a two hour block of time are limited. Of course the statement should be signed and dated by your physician.

It is important to note that a statement by your doctor that only says you "are disabled" or "unable to work" is actually not useful. The social security administration specifically states that these statements are " never entitled to controlling weight".  Having an attorney may help you create a form to give to your doctor that will focus on the things that the judge will find most convincing. 

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