tion and its manifestations, but their expertise can be particularly important when assessing whether a claimant meets a sublisting with a functional requirement (e.g., ability to perform activities of daily living). The opinions of other practitioners may be more appropriate in determining the severity of a claimant’s disability, including other allied health professionals, such as advanced-practice nurses and rehabilitation counselors.

When evaluating a claimant’s level of functioning and ability to work, a broader base of expertise may be needed to ensure that the most informed health professional is assessing the claim, as expressed in SSR 06-03p.2 In these situations, the opinions of other practitioners have equal or greater applicability to the disability decision than those of the professionals listed as “acceptable medical sources.” The committee concludes that SSA should consider including a wide array of licensed health professionals as acceptable medical sources (e.g., nurses, dentists, allied health professionals) for determining the functional effects of impairments.

TRAINING OF DISABILITY EXAMINERS AND MEDICAL CONSULTANTS

The committee recognizes that training of disability examiners and medical consultants is critical to implementing the HIV Infection Listings. Disability examiners and medical consultants are an important part of ensuring the effectiveness of the Listings and can provide critical feedback about how well the Listings are functioning. Disability examiners and medical consultants are rarely HIV specialists, but they have the most responsibility for implementing the Listings. They are challenged not only by the need to keep up to date with a quickly evolving disease, but also by large case loads that require knowledge of a wide variety of conditions and body systems.

The HIV Infection Listings can only be broadly effective if they are applied consistently across the country. However, training of disability examiners and medical consultants occur at the state level and can lead to regional differences in interpretation of the Listings. Training curriculums vary by state, usually requiring an 8- to 12-week course for disability examiners and an approximately 12-week process for medical consultants. Other on-the-job training often follows the formal training course. The National Association for Disability Examiners offers a voluntary certification program, and training conferences are held nationally. However, no

2

SSR 06-03p is a ruling called “Considering Opinions and Other Evidence from Sources Who Are Not ‘Acceptable Medical Sources’ in Disability Claims; Considering Decisions on Disability by Other Governmental and Nongovernmental Agencies,” which explains SSA’s policy on opinions from nonacceptable medical sources.



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