Social Security Disability Resource Center

Overview | How to Qualify | Applications
Requirements | How long it takes | Back Pay
Mental Disability | What is a disability? | Tips
SSI Benefits | How to Win | Disability Awards
Hearings | Appeals | List of Disabling Conditions

To receive disability benefits, how recent do your medical records need to be?

While medical records are not actually required to file a SSD or SSI disability claim, there is no denying that without medical treatment records you will not be able to prove your disability case and receive a disability award. However, more than that, Social Security must also have current medical records to make their determination. For the purpose of a Social Security disability determination, current medical records are no more than 90 days old.

This does not mean they do not take older medical records into consideration but they cannot use older medical records as the sole source of information for their determination.

If you do not have current medical records, or you have no medical records, Social Security will pay for a consultative examination to get a medical status of your alleged disabling condition or conditions. Consultative examinations can be mental or physical and are performed by independent doctors paid by Social Security, similar to how contract workers are paid for services.

There are often negative feelings about these examinations because they tend to be short and not the thorough checkup many disability applicants are hoping for. Keep in mind they are not designed to actually treat medical problems. Social Security disability is based more on functionality than actual diagnosed medical conditions, so it is reasonable to assume these examinations are used to determine the severity and limitations of the disability applicant.

In summary, you can have older medical records for a SSD or SSI disability claim but you really need medical treatment for your disabling condition, or conditions, within the past ninety days for a decision. If you do not have current medical treatment, you will be sent to a consultative examination or examinations to get the necessary "recent" documentation for your disability determination.

SSDRC Homepage:

Social Security Disability and SSI Resource Center

Resources on this site:

Social Security Disability, SSI Terms and Definitions

Previously answered questions regarding SSD and SSI

Related pages:

The Social Security Disability Determination Process
The Social Security Disability Decision
The Decision on a Disability Application or Appeal
Social Security Disability and SSI Decisions
How Quickly Is The Disability Claim Decision Made?
How much time does it take to get an SSI Decision?

Information on the following topics can be found here: Social Security Disability Questions,

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

Do I need an attorney to win disability?
How Long Does It Take To Go Before A Judge For Disability?
Will a Judge give you an Immediate Decision at the Disability Hearing?
What happens when you go to a disability hearing?
Social Security Disability SSI and Medical conditions
Social Security Disability lawyer fee
Can a lawyer or attorney speed up my disability case?
When can I expect my first disability check and my back pay check?
Going to a medical exam for Social Security Disability or SSI
Filing for disability - How to file the disability application
Do you need a lawyer to file for disability?
How Far Back Can SSI Back Pay Be Paid?
Can you get temporary Social Security disability or SSI benefits?
The Social Security Disability Award Letter
Social Security Disability SSI Eligibility Requirements
How Many Times Will you be denied before You Get Approved for Disability?
What makes you eligible for Social Security Disability or SSI?
How to Prove disability and qualify to win benefits
How to speed up the disability process
Social Security Disability Back pay and How Long it Takes
How to qualify for disability
What is the Social Security Disability List of Impairments?
What is considered a disability by Social Security?
How Long Does A Social Security Disability Appeal Take?
How does back pay for Social Security disability work?
Your Social Security Disability Status
How do you find out if a disability claim has been approved or denied?
How to check Social Security Disability Status
Applying for disability, what medical conditions can you apply for?
How do you prove your disability case if you have a mental condition or impairment?
How much does disability pay?
Can I get permanent Social Security Disability or SSI?
How long will it take to get a disability decision letter?
How long does it take to be approved for SSI or Social Security disability?
How Long to get a Disability Hearing decision?
How long to get disability benefits after you receive an award notice?
Social Security Disability and Working
What makes a person eligible to receive disability benefits?
How To Get Disability Through SSDI or SSI Approved
How Much Income Can A Person Earn If He Draws Social Security Disability?
Can I Qualify For Disability for Depression?