When someone files for disability how many years of medical records do they need?

When someone files for disability how many years of medical records do they need?

The simple answer to this question is that you do not have to have any medical records to file for SSDI or SSI. However, there is no denying that medical records can help you substantiate the limitations and severity of your disabling condition.

Let's address the procedure for making a medical disability determination if you do not have any medical records or your medical records are very old. Social Security has to have current (no more than ninety days old) medical records to make their disability determination, so they will send you to a consultative medical/psychiatrist/or psychological exam.

Related: How Far Back Will Social Security Disability Look At Your Medical Records?

The consultative examination will be a short examination strictly designed to give the disability specialist a current status of your disabling condition. These examinations are not meant to be medical treatment but valuable testing may be requested along with these examinations.

While it has been my experience that consultative examinations lead to very few disability approvals, there are cases won on the basis of a consultative examination.

I should mention that you might have to attend a consultative examination even if you have current and past medical treatment. There are times when medical records need more clarification or perhaps an additional test is needed to make the disability determination.

If you have a medical treatment history, the disability specialist will try to get medical records for any source you provided on your disability application.

Social Security Disability specialists prefer a medical treatment history of at least twelve months to make their medical determination. The advantage of having a good history of medical treatment for your disabling condition is that your doctor can provide your diagnosis, prognosis, medical treatment, response to medical treatment, medications, and their opinion with regard to your limitations and your ability to work considering these limitations. If the objective medical evidence supports your doctor's opinion, it can go long way toward being approved for disability.

The important thing to remember is that while medical records are important, you should not let the fact that you do not have any medical records, very old medical records, or very little medical records stop you from filing an application for disability if your medical or mental condition prevents you from being able to work.

About the Author: Tim Moore is a former Social Security Disability Examiner in North Carolina, has been interviewed by the NY Times and the LA Times on the disability system, and is an Accredited Disability Representative (ADR) in North Carolina. For assistance on a disability application or Appeal in NC, click here.

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