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Medical Evidence and Disability

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Social Security Disability, Medical Records, and a Person's Limitations

How do medical records show limitations? That is the problem for most individuals who receive a disability claim denial since most medical records do not indicate the limitations that are suffered by patients. Medical records will usually refer to a patient's diagnosed conditions, the type of treatment they have received, or are receiving, and their complaints and symptoms. But doctors are simply not in the habit of indicating in their notes if a patient is having difficulty sitting for longer than a certain period, or difficulty standing or walking for more than a certain amount of time. Yet, this is the information that social security needs in order to make an approval on a disability claim.

Notations in the medical records as to a person's limitations can allow a disability examiner or judge to get an overall idea of an individual's degree of limitations. It can also allow the decison-maker on a disability claim to determine if the claimant can return to their past work. If it is obvious that the claimant cannot return to their past work, the decision-maker can make a determination as to whether or not the claimant could do some type of other work.

If that is not possible, of course, and the claimant's condition will effectively rule out the ability to work for at least one full year, then they will have met the social security administation definition of disability and will be eligible to receive disability benefits.

When the medical records that have been received by the disability examiner working on the case contain very little reference to how limited a person is as a result of their condition, it is often helpful to have a detailed statement from the claimant's treating physician.

These statements are usually called medical source statements and they allow the claimant's doctor to provide the necessary that the doctor's treatment notes did not. Medical source statements, if they are detailed, objective, and supported by the rest of the claimant's medical record, can assist in winning a claim. But they are usually of little benefit unless a case is at the hearing level.

Unfortunately, most claims are initially denied (denied at the application level) and result in a claimant receiving a boilerplate notice of denial. What should be done once a notice of denial is received?

Continued at: Social Security Denial - What should be done if your disability is denied?

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

Related pages:

Social Security Denied Me But Didnít Have All My Medical Records?
How Can You Get Medical Records For A Disability Case without Insurance?
Can you be denied disability if social security cannot find your medical records?
Social Security Disability Medical Records
How Far Back Does Social Security Look At Medical Records for SSDI SSI?
Social Security Disability, Medical Records, and a Person's Limitations
Medical Evidence on a Social Security Disability or SSI Claim
Getting your medical records can speed up your disability claim
Will a Disability attorney try to Help You get Your Medical Records?

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