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SSDRC Disability Blog

How Can You Get Medical Records For A Disability Case If You Have No Insurance?

I have seen this question in so many disability forums recently, and I think it is important to provide some answers as to how Social Security looks at medical records when they are making disability determinations.

The lack of medical records is a very common problem for individuals who have not been working or have been unable to pay for health insurance. So how does Social Security get medical information for their medical determinations if an individual has not been able to afford treatment? Unfortunately, individuals who do have no medical records or no current medical records will have to attend consultative examinations.

Consultative examinations are very basic mental or physical examinations that are performed by doctors who are paid by Social Security. Very often, in fact, consultative examinations are performed by physicians whose medical specialty has nothing to do with a disability claimant's disabling condition or conditions.

Many disability claimants have complained that the physician took no time with them and did not even address what they felt was their disabling impairment. I think it is important to mention that consultative examinations are not meant to be in-depth or provide any kind of treatment for a disability applicant. They are strictly to give a Social Security disability examiner enough current medical information to make a disability decision.

As you might guess, an individualís disability claim has a greater chance of being approved if they have some kind of medical information other than the results of a short cursory consultative examination performed by a doctor who has no history of treatment with the claimant.

So how can an individual get medical records for their disability claim if they have no insurance? I do not know all of the answers, but I do have a couple of suggestions that may provide an individual some medical records for their disability case. Most areas have medical clinics that are either free, or charge based upon an individualís income.

I would suggest an individual consider contacting one of these clinics for medical treatment so that they have at least some kind of current medical records (Social Security considers medical records to be current only if they are ninety days or less old). Even emergency room records or hospital records are useful to an individualís disability claim, because they often contain objective medical testing or clinical notes.

While an individual may still have to attend a consultative examination or examinations, it does not hurt to have medical records to bolster their disability case. In my experience, consultative examinations alone do not often lead to an approval for disability benefits.

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?
Can a disability lawyer charge an hourly fee for helping to file the claim?

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