Filing an Application for Disability Benefits
How do you win disability benefits?
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 benefits
How to File for Disability - Tips for Filing
If You Get Approved For SSDI Will You Also Get Medicare?
How much is paid for the Social Security Disability Attorney Fee?
Social Security Disability SSI Criteria and the Evaluation Process
How long does it take to be approved for SSI or Social Security disability?
Qualifying: What do you Need to Prove to Qualify for Disability?
Applying for disability for Fibromyalgia
Filing for disability with Degenerative Disc Disease
Can I Qualify For Disability on the basis of Depression?
Answers to questions about SSD and SSI disability
What Disabilities Qualify for SSI and Social Security Disability Benefits?
Social Security Disability Status
Medical Evidence for Social Security Disability
How to prove you are disabled
and win disability benefits
Every decision in Social Security Disability (SSD) and SSI matters is based on a claimant’s medical records, and what they say about his or her ability to work (or not). Because medical records are critical to the outcome of disability cases, some applicants make the mistake of sending in far too much information in an effort to bolster their claims. This is not at all helpful, because it makes the disability examiner or judge’s job that much harder—sifting through a pile of records looking for acceptable medical evidence is both frustrating and time-consuming, when the ideal here is for the claimant to be as helpful as possible in providing a picture of his impairment and functional limitations.
Of course, some if not most people filing for disability don’t really know what types of medical documentation Social Security is looking for, so they figure they’ll throw in everything but the kitchen sink to be on the safe side, unaware that they are wasting everyone’s time and probably delaying a decision in their case.
When submitting medical records for a disability examiner or judge to review, it’s best to send in only medical records signed by a physician or psychologist. Medical opinions from nurses, chiropractors, acupuncturists, homeopaths, etc., are not considered acceptable medical evidence. X-ray films or other test results are not useful unless they are accompanied by a report and an interpretation--disability examiners and judges are not physicians, and do not know how to read these tests.
Pharmacy printouts are also not helpful—any medications you are taking should be covered in the notes or records from the treating physician or physicians.
So what kinds of medical records are useful? Admission or discharge summaries from hospitals, physician notes, X-rays, MRIs, or other test results that are accompanied by interpretive reports are all very useful to those making disability decisions.
Keep in mind that the point of submitting medical evidence is to help prove that A) you have a severe impairment and B) this impairment limits your functional capacity to the point that you are no longer able to earn a living wage. In order to prove these points you must have a written opinion from a physician or other approved medical treatment source that offers details about your symptoms and how they limit your ability to function. This should include how an impairment affects normal daily living activities, such as standing, lifting, walking, concentration, memory, etc., as well as a prognosis (how the medical condition is expected to progress over time).
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