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What factors do we consider when we evaluate evidence you submit?

Excerpted from "Social Security Handbook". See the up-to-date, official Social Security Handbook at

1703. What factors do we consider when we evaluate evidence you submit?

When we evaluate a particular document you submit as evidence, we consider factors such as:

  1. The source of information from which the record was made. Was the person originally furnishing the information in a position to know the facts?

  2. The purpose for which the record was made. Was there any reason to falsify or distort the facts?

  3. The formality of the document. Was it made under oath? Is it a public record? Were there witnesses to its execution? Was a penalty provided for a false statement?

  4. The age of the document. Was the record made at, or shortly after, the time the event occurred?

  5. The custody of the document. Has it been in possession of someone who might have reason to change it?

  6. Its appearance. Lack of erasures, etc. Does it appear altered from its original form?

  7. The consistency of all the evidence relating to a particular matter; and

  8. Whether the person furnishing the information has an interest in the claim for which the proof is needed.

Last Revised: March, 2001

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