Medical Records and Your Social Security Claim
Submitting all your relevant medical records in a timely fashion is critical to your social security disability claims success. The Social Security Administration (SSA) denies almost half of the first-time applicants who apply. However, not submitting your medical claims is one of the fastest ways to have your claim rejected. Thus, whether you are going through the disability application process alone or with an attorney, you must submit all the accurate medical information or risk not even being considered for benefits. The article below discusses the importance of including your medical records in your social security claim and what records to include.
How Do Medical Records Impact Your Application
In most cases, the person submitting the social security claim must show the SSA that they have a disability preventing them from working. Furthermore, your medical records are the main form of “evidence” that social security considers when reviewing your application.
One important note is that while the SSA must make a reasonable effort to uncover your medical history, they can decide on your disability eligibility without the entirety of your medical records. Thus, you can lose a claim for disability benefits without giving the SSA all of your medical records.
What Medical Records Should You Include
To give yourself the best chance of winning benefits, you should include all documents and materials related to your medical history. Complete medical history means any records, reports, labs, progress notes, or similar documents that pertain to the ailments you have alleged in your application. These records should encompass at least the last year of your medical records prior to the month of filing, the protective filing date, or the date last insured. Furthermore, the year starts at whichever one of these events occurred first.
Finally, you can provide documentation from a medical source such as a doctor or healthcare worker. However, you can also submit information from a non-medical source.
Timing of Medical Records
While it is important to include your current and past medical records, it is also crucial that you provide the SSA with these records before you file your claim. Furthermore, as it will likely take time to gather all of your medical records, you should start the collection process well before you plan on submitting a disability claim.
In certain cases, the SSA will not approve your disability claim unless you provide treatment history in your medical records. Additionally, you will also need to state how you responded to these specific treatments.
Requesting Medical Records for Social Security Claims
Gathering your medical records is one of the most important parts of your social security disability claim. Thus, understanding how to effectively gather all of your documents is critical. Below is a list of ways to quickly gather all of your medical documents:
- Create a list of any and all doctors that have treated you for your condition
- Reach out and speak to your primary care physician
- submit a medical records request with your doctor’s office
- Make sure to give the office a reasonable time frame that you need the documents by
What Happens if You Cannot Obtain All Necessary Medical Records
The SSA is legally required to assist you in gathering your medical records when these documents are not easily obtainable. However, if you are experiencing difficulty collecting your medical records, you must state this on form SSA-5002 and then submit this form to the SSA.
After filing form SSA-5002, the SSA requests the documents you require from the sources that you list on the form. Furthermore, the SSA also makes one follow-up call to the sources if they did not answer the initial request. However, this is all the help that you will receive from the SSA. If you or the SSA cannot receive the documents, they make a decision on your claim without the missing records.
You should hire a social security disability attorney because with their assistance, your chances of receiving benefits significantly increase. It’s certainly true that some people who apply on their own are approved for benefits. However, statistics show that the Social Security Administration is more likely to approve applicants represented by legal counsel.
From the initial documentation and application process to the hearing level and beyond, disability attorneys understand how to properly present a case in a way that is most favorable to their clients. Additionally, on the initial application, a social security disability lawyer can offer advice on your “alleged onset date” of disability. Furthermore, they can show that your condition meets one of the listed impairments in the “blue book.”
At the appellate levels, your social security lawyer can collect and submit relevant medical evidence, obtain an opinion from your doctor, create a brief that will go to the ALJ, and prepare you for the types of questions that an ALJ will ask you at your appellate hearing. Finally, if your case is getting substantial pushback, your attorney may cross-examine an expert in your field or medical experts. The reason for this is that these experts can state that your disability does not allow you to work.
Contact Our Law Office for More Information
For more information on medical records and your social security claim, contact Antonoplos & Associates at 202-803-5676. You can also directly schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys. Additionally, for general information on social security law, check out our blog.