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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

Disability Denials and Filing 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 Back Pay and the disability award notice

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

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If You File For Social Security Disability How Far Back Will They Look At Your Medical Records?

How to prove you are disabled
and win disability benefits

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

Social Security Disability SSI decisions | The Disability Decision Process and What gets taken into Consideration | Getting Denied for Disability Benefits | Questions about Social Security Disability Approvals and Being Approved | Social Security Disability Hearings | Social Security Medical Examinations | Social Security SSI Doctors | Social Security Disability Representation | Social Security Disability SSI Reviews