Overview of Disability
Disability Back Pay
Requirements for Disability
Applications for disability
Tips and Advice for Disability Claims
How long does Disability take?
Winning Disability Benefits
Common Mistakes after a Denial
Mental Disability Benefits
Denials for Disability
Appeals for denied claims
Disability Benefits from SSA
Child Disability Benefits
Qualifications and How to Qualify
Working and Disability
Disability Awards and Notices
Disability Lawyers, Hiring Attorneys
Social Security List of Conditions
What Social Security considers disabling
Medical Evidence and Disability
Filing for Disability Benefits
Eligibility for Disability Benefits
SSD SSI Definitions
SSDRC authored by Tim Moore
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How Do You Qualify For Disability If You Donít Have Money To Go To the Doctor?
Social Security does not require an individual to have any medical records in order to file for, or qualify for disability. However, disability examiners need to have medical history treatment notes in order to make a decision. If you do not have the money to go to the doctor, check and see if there are any clinics in your area that might be helping individuals with limited resources, or who lack insurance, to see if you can receive medical care. If you find a clinic, by all means establish medical treatment there. If there are no free clinics, even hospital emergency room records can be helpful.
For the purposes of this question, I will explain how a disability examiner will determine if you qualify for disability when you lack medical records. If an individual has no records, or all of their records are more than ninety days old, the disability examiner will have to schedule a CE, a consultative examination (sometimes referred to as a social security medical exam) for all the claimant's alleged impairments.
This means an individual alleging a mental and physical impairment who has not received any, or very little, medical treatment would have to attend both physical and mental consultative examinations to determine the severity and limitation of their alleged disabling conditions.
While this seems good on the surface, and it is better than nothing, consultative examinations are usually just brief examinations to get a current status of a disability claimantís condition (or conditions) so that the disability examiner can make a decision and close the case.
It does not take much for an examiner to deny a disability claim and, for the most part, consultative examinations are an effective tool for this. Rarely do consultative examinations lead to disability approvals in social security disability and SSI cases other than an impairment like mental retardation, organic brain syndrome, or learning disabilities.
The reason consultative examinations lead to more approvals in those situations is because they are based upon objective testing--i.e. intelligence quotient, memory testing--rather than the consultative examiner's professional opinion (the consultative examiner would be the doctor or pyschologist that social security has paid to conduct the consultative examination, which, as mentioned, can constitute some form of mental testing, in addition to types of physical examinations).
It gets a little trickier if your impairment is based upon a physical problem, because physicians who have no expertise in the area of the disability claimantís disabling condition usually perform the examination for social security and offer their opinion as to the claimantís limitations.
For example, there have been many times that a disability claimant with a back problem has been sent to an allergist or gynecologist for an evaluation. Realistically, how much of an evaluation can an allergist or gynecologist give an individual with an orthopedic condition? This is a common complaint amongst disability claimants who attend consultative examinations.
So many claimants realize the moment that they meet the doctor that they will not have a thorough examination that truly evaluates their impairment. It is simply a means to an end for Social Security to make a medical determination for disability benefits.
It is discouraging but, for the individual who has no recent treatment of their own (and, thus, no recent medical records), even having just consultative examination reports in their disability folder may offer a bare chance of winning SSD or SSI benefits. As was stated, however, rarely do such exams pave the way for an approval.
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