Law Office of Michael Tonder, P.C.

65 Pineville Road, Suite 2
Monroeville, AL 36460

P.O. Box 337
Excel, AL 36439‎


Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants

Earlier in this blog, we discussed how Social Security evaluates a doctor’s opinion in the context of a disability claim. Unfortunately, there are many people that never see an actual Medical Doctor (M.D,) when they go to a clinic. Instead, they see a Certified Registered Nurse Practitioner (CRNP) or a Physician’s Assistant (PA).

In the real word, for many patients there is practically no difference between an M.D. and a CRNP/PA. Each comes into the room, examines you, and prescribes medicine. For purposes of a disability claim, there is a huge difference between an M.D., and a CRNP/PA. Under the Social Security regulations, the agency has to consider an MD’s opinion differently: an MD’s opinion is entitled to the most deference. Although the agency can defer to the opinion of a CRNP/PA, the agency can also discard a CRNP/PA opinion much easier than an MD’s opinion.

With that said, it must be stressed that the disability claimant continue to get medical treatment, even if they can only afford to go to a clinic and see a CRNP/PA. The Administrative Law Judge might be willing to adopt the CRNP/PA opinion if it is consistent with the medical records. Most Administrative Law Judges are aware of the different clinics in the area and that not everyone sees a doctor when they visit a clinic.