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
Will SSD or SSI Disability Be Based On Newer Or Older Medical Records?
How to prove you are disabled
and win disability benefits
Social Security disability determinations are based upon newer medical records...if that is all that Social Security has available to them. This means that disability examiners must have new current medical records to make their disability determinations, but not necessarily older records (though older medical records are used to determine a claimant's onset, i.e how far back their disability began, which can have a definite impact on much back pay the claimant is eligible to receive).
Social Security disability examiners, ideally, like to have more medical records and a longer medical history to base their medical determination upon. Social Security actually prefers at least a twelve-month medical history or more (assuming that the records exist and can be located) to evaluate the severity of an individual’s disability or disabling condition.
Older medical records, along with newer medical records, help establish how long an individual has had their disabling condition as well as the severity of the condition. Individuals who have a long medical treatment history usually have more detailed information as to how their disabling condition has prevented them from performing substantial work activity (SGA is a monthly earnings amount that Social Security considers to be at a level that self–sustaining).
Older records are particularly useful if an individual has not performed substantial work activity for quite some time prior to filing for disability. Why? Because it may enable their disability to be established prior to their date last insured, or DLI. DLI is the date that they no longer had disability insured status.
Insured status is earned though work activity and in order to be insured for Social Security disability an individual must be "fully insured" and "disability insured". To be fully insured, an individual must have earned at least one quarter of coverage per year from the age of twenty-one to the year they became disabled and they must have worked twenty quarters out of the past forty possible quarters.
This basically means that an individual must have worked five out of the last twenty years in order to have disability insured status. Once an individual has become insured, howver, it is not indefinite, which means it could expire if an individual has not worked.
In addition to allowing earlier onset of disability, older records may enable a disability claimant to receive up to twelve months retroactive benefits from the date they filed if they have been out of work at least seventeen months (there is a five month waiting period that Social Security never pays disability benefits).
In a nutshell, Social Security disability benefits may be based upon both old and new records. And some individuals may receive Social Security disability or SSI benefits strictly because they had old medical treatment notes for Social Security to use.
Return to: SSDRC, or the Questions, Answers, Tips, and Advice page
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