Overview of Disability

Disability Back Pay

Disability Requirements

Disability Applications

Disability Advice Tips

How long do cases take?

How to win Disability

SSD Mistakes to avoid

Disability for Mental

What if you get denied?

How to file Appeals

Disability through SSA

SSI Disability Benefits

Disability for Children

How do I qualify for it?

Working and Disability

Disability Award Notice

Disability Lawyer Q&A

Disability Conditions List

What is a disability?

Your Medical Evidence

Filing for your Disability

Disability Eligibility

SSD SSI Definitions

Recent Questions

SSDRC Disability Blog

How to File for SSI

Continued from: How to Apply for SSI, Part I

How are medical records used to determine an SSI decision? The disability examiner who has been assigned to process the SSDI or SSI claim will sift through a claimant's records looking for evidence of functional limitations.

Functional limitations may be either physical or mental. If a claim involves either a physical condition or a mental condition, the examiner will rate the claimant's level of restricted functionality (known as their RFC or residual functional capacity, which is defined as what a person can still do despite their overall condition).

Very often, of course, the examiner will assess the claimant's physical RFC and their mental RFC as well since it is common that a disability claim will involve mental and physical conditions.

The residual functional capacity rating that is given to a claimant (For example, in the case of physical impairments, are they restricted from doing anything more than light physical work, or are they restricted from tasks that involve one of their senses such as vision or hearing.

In the case of mental impairments, do they have difficulty with short or long-term memory recall, or do they have difficulty sustaining attention or concentration) is compared to whatever physical or mental capabilities were required of their past jobs?

If their RFC rating (or ratings) is severe enough, the claimant may be judged incapable of going back to their past work, and perhaps incapable of doing any other work for which they might otherwise be thought capable of doing.

Why is it important to produce the medical history prior to the appointment for the disability application interview? Because, just as with the work history, accuracy is very imporant.

Speaking as a former disability examiner, I can state that many claimants fail to give sufficient information about their treatment sources when filing for disability. In some cases, the claimant does not give enough information for the examiner to distinguish one doctor or clinic or hospital from another.

In other cases, the claimant entirely omits the information. And this may be due to the fact that the claimant cannot recall the information during the interview. It may also result from a mistaken assumption that the social security administration can automatically access all of a claimant's medical records simply by having their social security number.

However, this is not the case and many claims are disadvantaged by the fact that the disability examiner does not have access to all of a claimant's records (due to the claimant not providing all of the treatment sources).

This phenomenon is often demonstrated by what happens at disability hearings when a claimant's disability attorney suddenly learns of a doctor or clinic that was previously unknown by the social security administration. It is entirely possible that had the information regarding the unknown medical treatment source been known, the claim might have been approved sooner and without the need for filing disability appeals.

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

Related pages:

What Benefits come with SSI Disability?
Who is eligible for SSI Disability?
Legally blind with retinitis pigmentosa, can I file for disability?
Is There A Maximum Dollar Amount For SSI Disability?
Does sleep apnea treatment qualify a person for temporary SSI disability?
The SSI Award Letter from Social Security
What Disabilities Qualify for SSI and Social Security Disability Benefits?
Can I Be Eligible For SSI And Social Security Disability At The Same Time?

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