Topic Categories:

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

SSI Benefits

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

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Recent Medical Records for a Social Security Disability or SSI case

In order for a disability examiner to make a decision on a disability claim, the examiner will need to have recent medical evidence in the file. Recent evidence is defined as medical records that are not older than 90 days.

Why does social security need "recent medical evidence"? SSA actually needs newer AND older medical records. Older records can help establish how far back a person's disability goes, and this can have an immediate effect on the claimant's eligibility for back pay. Older records are also needed to establish that an applicant's disability began while they were still insured for title 2 benefits, which are SSDI, or social security disability insurance benefits (note: SSI benefits, as opposed to SSDI benefits, do not rely on insured status because SSI is based completely on need).

For those who are unaware, one's eligibility to receive social security disability benefits begins with the fact that they are insured for such benefits as a result of work credits that are earned through their years of work activity. Once a person stops working--such as due to a disability--they will eventually get to a point at which they are no longer insured under the SSDI program.

The best way to conceptualize this may be to think of it as being similar to car insurance and the fica taxes that are taken out of a paycheck (which pay for both social security and medicare) as being analogous to the payment of the premiums. Once a person stops working and receiving a paycheck, the "premium" is no longer sent in and the policy only has a certain amount of time before it lapses. Fortunately for indivduals filing for SSDI, it can take years for SSDI coverage to lapse.

Newer, or recent, records, however, are needed for an entirely different reason. And that reason is this: for the social security administration to award disability benefits, it must be clear that the individual is disabled now, as of the time that the claim is being decided. And only recent medical record documentation can reliably prove that.

This, of course, is exactly why it is necessary for the social security administration to obtain recent medical records when a person's disability case is being decided. And, likewise, this is why it is important for a person who is filing for disability to keep going to their doctor regularly if they wish to qualify for disability benefits.

Note: If the social security administration cannot obtain recent medical records, the applicant will mostly likely be scheduled to go to a social security medical examination, otherwise known as a CE, or consultative exam.

Return to:  Social Security Disability Resource Center, or read answers to Questions

Related pages:

How Far Back Does Social Security Look At Your Medical Records?
Does Social Security Disability prefer Current Medical Records?
Medical Records That Are Best For Disability Claim
Will SSD or SSI Disability Be Based On Newer Or Older Medical Records?
Medical Evidence for Social Security Disability
Why does it take so long for Social Security to get medical records?
Recent Medical Records for a Social Security Disability or SSI case
Including medical reports with the application for disability
How do medical records and work history determine a disability claim?
What if the disability examiner cannot find all the medical records?
Why does a disability claim take so long and is it harder if I am under age 55?
Will surgery on limbs give you a chance of getting disability?

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