604.Independent Determinations Under the Social Security Act

604.1How are disability determinations made?

We make independent disability determinations. Our determination is based on all of the evidence from all sources in your individual case.

604.2Do disability decisions by other agencies affect SSA's determination of disability?

A decision by any other governmental agency or a nongovernmental entity about whether you are disabled, blind, employable, or entitled to any benefits is based on their own rules. The decision is not binding on us and is not our decision about whether you are disabled or blind under our rules. In a claim filed on or after March 27, 2017, we will not provide any analysis in our determination or decision about a decision made by any other governmental agency or a nongovernmental entity about whether you are disabled, blind, employable, or entitled to any benefits.

However, we will consider all of the supporting evidence underlying the other governmental agency or nongovernmental entity’s decision that we receive as evidence in your claim.

604.3Do medical opinions from a medical source who regularly treats you affect SSA's determination of disability?

As part of our consideration of all evidence in a claim, we consider all medical opinions when we make our determinations and decisions. We consider several factors, which are listed in our regulations, to determine how we evaluate medical opinions. Some of these factors include: supportability, consistency, the medical source’s relationship with the claimant, and the medical source’s specialty. The medical source’s relationship with the claimant including the length of the treatment relationship, frequency of examinations, purpose of the treatment relationship, extent of the treatment relationship, and examining relationship are factors we will consider when we consider the persuasiveness of that source’s medical opinion(s). However, the most important factors in considering the persuasiveness of a medical source opinion(s) is supportability and consistency. Although not as important, we will also consider the medical source’s specialization as well as other factors.

604.4Do you consider evidence from nonmedical sources?

Yes. We consider all evidence we receive from all sources, including nonmedical sources. However, we are not required to articulate how we considered evidence from nonmedical sources using the requirements noted in 604.3.

Last Revised: Apr. 19, 2017