From Social Security Ruling 17-2p, which will be published in the Federal Register on Monday:
At the hearings level or at the AC [Appeals Council] level when the AC issues its own decision, the adjudicator is responsible for the finding of medical equivalence [to a Listing]. The adjudicator must base his or her decision about whether the individual’s impairment(s) medically equals a listing on the preponderance of the evidence in the record. To demonstrate the required support of a finding that an individual is disabled based on medical equivalence at step 3, the record must contain one of the following:
1. A prior administrative medical finding from an MC [Medical Consultant] or PC [Psychological Consultant] from the initial or reconsideration adjudication levels supporting the medical equivalence finding, or
2. ME [Medical Expert] evidence, which may include testimony or written responses to interrogatories, obtained at the hearings level supporting the medical equivalence finding, or
3. A report from the AC’s medical support staff supporting the medical equivalence finding.