What is the Application Process for Social Security Disability and SSI?
How do you Win Benefits under Social Security Disability or SSI?
If I am determined disabled, how far back will Social Security pay benefits?
How do you prove your disability case if you have a mental condition?
What Can I Do to Improve My Chances of Winning Disability Benefits
Common Mistakes after Receiving a Denial of Social Security Disability or SSI Benefits
How to File for Disability - Tips for Filing
If You Get Approved For SSDI Will You Also Get Medicare?
How much does a Social Security disability attorney get paid?
Social Security Disability SSI Criteria and the Evaluation Process
How long does it take to be approved for SSI or Social Security disability?
What do you Need to Prove to Qualify for Disability Benefits?
Social Security Disability SSI and Fibromyalgia
Social Security Disability SSI and Degenerative Disc Disease
Can I Qualify For Disability and Receive Benefits based on Depression?
Answers to questions about SSD and SSI disability
What Disabilities Qualify for SSI and Social Security Disability Benefits?
Social Security Disability Status
Social Security Disability Tips — how a claim gets worked on
Social Security Disability, SSI Disability - Terms, Definitions, Concepts
The Medical Records That Are Best For A Social Security Disability Claim
How to prove you are disabled
and win disability benefits
Social Security prefers that disability claims be supported by medical records from the applicant’s treating physician. In general, the treating physician is in a better position to document the onset date of the impairment, how it can be expected to progress over time (prognosis), as well as any physical or mental limitations it places on the patient’s ability to work.
If you are filing for Social Security Disability (SSD) or SSI, you will need medical evidence to back up your claim, and medical records that supply a complete, accurate picture of your medical condition can, in the best case scenario, eliminate the need for a disability examiner to gather any additional medical information before making a decision. In short, if your medical records are in order you should receive a timely response on your claim.
Medical records from hospitals, clinics, etc., are also valid forms of documentation, provided that the individual signing off on any reports from these treatment sources is considered to be “acceptable.” Social Security recognizes the medical opinions of licensed MDs, DOs (osteopaths), psychologists and optometrists. It does not give any weight to the opinions of chiropractors, although a disability examiner may review any x-rays or other medical tests ordered by chiropractors before making a decision.
However, disability examiners tend to pay closer attention to the opinion of long-time treatment sources than those that result from a short hospital stay or visit to the ER. The best medical records to support a disability claim are those from a physician with whom the patient has a longstanding relationship.
In some instances, often due to financial constraints or lack of health insurance altogether, the claimant has not received regular or recent medical treatment for his condition, in which case the disability examiner will order a consultative exam, or CE.
Consultative exams can be physical or psychological, or psychiatric, and are meant only to provide the disability examiner with an overview of the claimant’s current medical condition. These exams are brief, and as there is no relationship between the patient and the physician performing the exam, they seldom provide an examiner with more than the most basic understanding of any limitations an individual has due to his impairment.
If you are filing for disability, be sure to include medical records from any place in which you have received medical treatment for your impairment. Medical records from your treating physician, if you have one, are best, but don’t leave out any medical records from past or present acceptable medical sources. A consultative exam is better than nothing, but it is no substitute for a medical opinion from your doctor that supports your claim for disability.
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Individual Questions and Answers
SSD and SSI are Federal Programs
The title II Social Security Disability and title 16 SSI Disability programs operate under federal guidelines and, therefore, the program requirements--medical and non-medical--apply to all states:
Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming
Recent approval and denial statistics for various states can be viewed here:
Social Security Disability, SSI Approval and Denial Statistics by state
Special Section: Disability Lawyers and unnecessary claim denials