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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Why does it take so long for social security to get medical records?
People who file for disability are often amazed at how long the claims process takes. This is especially so if the claim gets denied at the disability application level and the claimant is forced to enter into the disability appeal process (the first appeal is the request for reconsideration, and the second appeal is the request for hearing; there are other appeals, however most cases are either resolved, or end, at the hearing level). Appeals can certainly cause a disability claim to take months or even years.
Despite the fact that social security disability claims and SSI claims can take this long before benefits are finally awarded, disability examiners, the individuals who work to process case decisions actually try to get cases closed as quickly as possible.
This is simply because disability examiners, who work at disability determination services (DDS is the agency that handles claims processing for the social security administration), are rated and evaluated according to how fast they can get their work done.
The very first thing that happens in the development of an SSD or SSI claim is this: the examiner who has been assigned to the case will send out requests for MER, which stands for medical evidence of record, or, simply put, medical records from the claimant's doctors and hospitals. The medical records requests are generated electronically and typically these records requests letters are mailed out the very same day that the examiner has been assigned to the case.
If the disability examiner gets the letters requesting records sent out so quickly, why does it take so long for social security to get the medical records and review them. This is because many medical providers are very slow in responding to requests for records.
In many instances, disability examiners must re-request the records numerous times. This can involve sending fax requests (after the original requests have been mailed out) and making phone calls to medical records departments to do followups.
Disability claims are based solely on the information contained in a claimant's records. And favorable decisions cannot be made without the records being in place. Therefore, it's fairly simple to see that delays in getting records can disadvantage claimants. For this reason, claimants who obtain their own medical records and submit them at the time of applying for disability benefits can sometimes cut processing time from their cases.
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