Social Security Disability Definitions
Social Security Disability and SSI Overview
The Requirements for Disability
Social Security Disability and SSI Applications
Tips and Advice for Disability Claims
How long does Disability take?
Common Mistakes after Receiving a Disability Denial
Social Security Disability and SSI Denials
Social Security Disability and SSI Appeals
Social Security Mental Disability Benefits
Disability Benefits offered through Social Security
Benefits through SSI disability
Disability Benefits for Children
Disability Qualifications and How to Qualify
Social Security Disability and Working
Winning your Disability Benefits
Social Security Disability Back Pay Benefits
Social Security Disability SSI Awards and Award Notices
Disability Lawyers and Hiring an Attorney
Social Security Disability SSI List of Conditions
What is considered a Disabling condition by Social Security?
Social Security Disability SSI and Medical Evidence
Filing for Disability Benefits
Eligibility for Disability Benefits
SSDRC authored by Tim Moore
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If You File For Social Security Disability How Far Back Will They Look At Your Medical Records?
Social Security likes to have a twelve-month longitudinal medical history to make their disability determinations. Additionally, Social Security may have to look at medical records that are many years in the past depending upon when an individual became unable to perform substantial gainful activity due to their disabling impairment or impairments.
Consequently, Social Security generally requests all medical records pertaining to a disability applicant even if there are more than twelve months of records.
At this juncture, it is important to mention that Social Security needs both a medical history and current medical treatment notes to make their disability determinations. Social Security considers medical records that are less than ninety days old to be current medical records. If an individual has a lot of medical records from the past, but no current medical treatment notes, they will be scheduled for a consultative examination (consultative examinations are short one-time evaluations with a physician hired by Social Security) to address the current status of their disabling condition or conditions.
It is not unusual for a disability applicant to be required to attend more than one consultative examination. For instance, if an individual alleges learning disabilities and back problems but they have no medical treatment notes, or no current medical treatment notes, it is likely that they will be scheduled for a psychological consultative examination as well as a physical consultative examination.
Social Security schedules these consultative examinations because it is imperative that an individualís current residual functional capacity (what a person's remaining physical or mental capabilities are) be evaluated in the disability determination.
Social Security disability determinations require medical records back to the date of onset (when an individual became unable to work due to their disabling impairment or impairments) to establish that date as an individualís true onset of disability. If there are no medical records available for that time period, a future date may have to be used as the established date of onset. This could mean that an individual may lose back disability benefits because they are unable to medically prove that they were disabled at the time they stoped working.
Return to: Social Security Disability Resource Center, or read answers to Questions
Information on the following topics can be found here: Social Security Disability Questions and in these subsections:
Frequently asked questions about getting Denied for Disability Benefits | FAQ on Disability Claim Representation | Info about Social Security Disability Approvals and Being Approved | FAQ on Social Security Disability SSI decisions | The SSD SSI Decision Process and what gets taken into consideration | Disability hearings before Judges | Medical exams for disability claims | Applying for Disability in various states | Selecting and hiring Disability Lawyers | Applying for Disability in North Carolina | Recent articles and answers to questions about SSD and SSI
These pages answer some of the most basic questions for individuals who are considering filing a claim.
Filing for disability - How to file for SSD or SSI and the Information that is needed by Social Security
How to Apply for Disability - What medical conditions can you apply and qualify for?
Applying for Disability - How long does it take to get Social Security Disability or SSI benefits?
What happens if I file a disability application and it is denied by a disability examiner or Judge?
How to Prove you are disabled and qualify to win disability benefits
How do you prove your disability case if you have a mental condition or impairment?
Social Security Disability Back pay and How Long it Takes to Qualify for it and receive it
Social Security Disability SSI - Eligibility Requirements and Qualifications Criteria