How to file for disability, Filing for SSI
Disability Requirements, Disability Status
How long is the wait?, Disability Application
The Social Security List of Impairments
Qualifying for Disability, Mental Disability
Disability Lawyer Info, Disability Back Pay

How Do You Qualify For Disability If You Don’t Have Money To Go To the Doctor?

Social Security does not require an individual to have any medical records in order to file for, or qualify for disability. However, disability examiners need to have medical history treatment notes in order to make a decision. If you do not have the money to go to the doctor, check and see if there are any clinics in your area that might be helping individuals with limited resources, or who lack insurance, to see if you can receive medical care.

If you find a clinic, by all means establish medical treatment there. If there are no free clinics, even hospital emergency room records can be helpful.

For the purposes of this question, I will explain how a disability examiner will determine if you qualify for disability when you lack medical records. If an individual has no records, or all of their records are more than ninety days old, the disability examiner will have to schedule a CE, a consultative examination (sometimes referred to as a social security medical exam) for all the claimant's alleged impairments.

This means an individual alleging a mental and physical impairment who has not received any, or very little, medical treatment would have to attend both physical and mental consultative examinations to determine the severity and limitation of their alleged disabling conditions.

While this seems good on the surface, and it is better than nothing, consultative examinations are usually just brief examinations to get a current status of a disability claimant’s condition (or conditions) so that the disability examiner can make a decision and close the case.

It does not take much for an examiner to deny a disability claim and, for the most part, consultative examinations are an effective tool for this. Rarely do consultative examinations lead to disability approvals in Social Security Disability and SSI cases other than an impairment like mental retardation, organic brain syndrome, or learning disabilities.

The reason consultative examinations lead to more approvals in those situations is because they are based upon objective testing--i.e. intelligence quotient, memory testing--rather than the consultative examiner's professional opinion (the consultative examiner would be the doctor or pyschologist that social security has paid to conduct the consultative examination, which, as mentioned, can constitute some form of mental testing, in addition to types of physical examinations).

It gets a little trickier if your impairment is based upon a physical problem, because physicians who have no expertise in the area of the disability claimant’s disabling condition usually perform the examination for social security and offer their opinion as to the claimant’s limitations.

For example, there have been many times that a disability claimant with a back problem has been sent to an allergist or gynecologist for an evaluation. Realistically, how much of an evaluation can an allergist or gynecologist give an individual with an orthopedic condition? This is a common complaint amongst disability claimants who attend consultative examinations.

So many claimants realize the moment that they meet the doctor that they will not have a thorough examination that truly evaluates their impairment. It is simply a means to an end for Social Security to make a medical determination for disability benefits.

It is discouraging but, for the individual who has no recent treatment of their own (and, thus, no recent medical records), even having just consultative examination reports in their disability folder may offer a bare chance of winning SSD or SSI benefits. As was stated, however, rarely do such exams pave the way for an approval.

Essential Questions

What is the Social Security Disability SSI list of impairments?

Can you work while getting or applying for Disability?

How Often Does Social Security Approve Disability The First Time You Apply?

Tips for getting Social Security Disability or SSI benefits approved

What medical conditions will get you approved for disability?

What kind of Mental Problems Qualify for Disability?

Receiving a Disability Award Letter

Conditions Social Security will recognize as a disability

Previously answered questions regarding SSD and SSI

Applying for disability in your state

Most popular topics on SSDRC.com

Social Security Disability SSI Questions

The listings, list of disabling impairments

Can a mental illness qualify you for disability?

Disability Lawyers prevent unnecessary denials

How much Social Security Disability SSI back pay?

How to apply for disability for a child or children

Filing a Social Security Disability SSI application

Filing for disability - when to file

How to apply for disability - where to apply

Qualifications for disability benefits

How to Prove you are disabled and Win your Disability Benefits

Qualifying for Disability - The Process

How to get disability for depression

Getting disability for fibromyalgia

SSI disability for children with ADHD

What is the Application Process for Social Security Disability and SSI?

Common Mistakes to avoid after being denied for Disability

Social Security Disability SSI Exam tips

More Social Security Disability SSI Questions

Social Security Disability SSI definitions

What makes you eligible for Social Security Disability or SSI?

New and featured pages on SSDRC.com

Who can help me file for disability?

Related pages:

Social Security Disability Appeal Attorney Fees
Can you get disability the first time you apply?
Should I get a lawyer for my disability hearing for SSD or SSI?
Who qualifies for disability? - Qualifying is based on evidence of functional limitations
How to qualify for disability - The Process of Qualifying for Benefits
To qualify for Social Security Disability or SSI, how severe must a condition be?
Can You Qualify for Disability if you did not work much?
How Do You Qualify For Disability without Money To Go To the Doctor?
The Qualification Criteria for Social Security Disability
What If You Did Not Work Long Enough To Qualify For Disability?
Qualifying for disability benefits with the social security administration
Qualifying for Disability - What is Social Security Looking for?
Do You Qualify For Social Security Disability Insurance?
What do you Need to Prove to Qualify for Disability Benefits?
What kind of Mental Problems Qualify for Disability?
Do You Have To Qualify For SSI Financially?
How does work qualify you for disability? (work credits)
Getting a Disability Lawyer in New York
If you apply for disability in New York
Will I qualify for disability Benefits in New York

These pages answer some of the most basic questions for individuals who are considering filing a claim.

Can you get temporary Social Security Disability or SSI benefits?

Permanent Social Security Disability

What is the difference between Social Security Disability and SSI?

Who is eligible for SSI disability?

Can I Be Eligible For SSI And Social Security Disability At The Same Time?

What makes a person eligible to receive disability benefits?

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?

For the sake of clarity, SSDRC.com is not the Social Security Administration, nor is it associated or affiliated with SSA. This site is a personal, private website that is published, edited, and maintained by former caseworker and former disability claims examiner, Tim Moore, who was interviewed by the New York Times on the topic of Social Security Disability and SSI benefits in an article entitled "The Disability Mess" and also by the Los Angeles Times on the subject of political attempts to weaken the Social Security Disability system.

The goal of the site is to provide information about how Social Security Disability and SSI work, the idea being that qualified information may help claimants pursue their claims and appeals, potentially avoiding time-consuming mistakes. If you find the information on this site helpful and believe it would be helpful to others, feel free to share links to its homepage or other pages on website resource pages, blogs, or social media. Copying of this material, however, is prohibited.

To learn more about the author, please visit the SSDRC.com homepage and view the "about this site" link near the bottom of the page.