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Social security is not always successful in obtaining all of a claimant's medical records

Someone wrote and said that after one's medical records have been gathered...the trick is for social security to actually look at them. As a former examiner, I can definitively state that social security does look at everything they gather. In fact, disability examiners (the individuals who render decisions on claims at the disability application and reconsideration appeal levels) have a clear incentive to do so because they have case processing unit supervisors who check to see that every "i" is dotted and every "t" is crossed. Missing something in the MER as it is called, or medical evidence of record, is not something that examiners are typically allowed to do.

However, while a claimant can be relatively sure that social security will look at and consider everything that is obtained, how that information is evaluated is a different matter entirely. In actuality, sometimes the trick is for social security to accord the proper significance to medical records. This is true in cases where pain plays a prominent role, or where many meds are being taken that, while treating the individual's major symptoms and complaints, cause side effects that (such as fatigue and difficulty with concentration) that can make it nearly impossible to engage in work activity or other types of ADLs (activities of daily living). And, of course, it goes without saying that the social security administration has a long track record of not giving proper consideration to things like pain.

Will social security look at your medical records? Of course. Each disability examiner--and, quite likely, his or her unit supervisor and unit medical consultant--will review everything in a claimant's medical records which has been successfully obtained.

But there's the rub, as it were. Social security is not always successful in obtaining all of a claimant's records. Why does this happen? Sometimes because...not all of a claimant's medical treatment sources have been disclosed.

On this note, I've seen cases in which claimants have failed to disclose a particular treatment source at the application level and the reconsideration level, and then only mentioned, prior to a hearing, that they had received treatment from a Doctor X at facility Y. Which, of course, was mind-boggling. How did the individual ever think that their case could be properly evaluated without social security being informed of all their treatment sources?

I can only theorize that a small percentage of claimants have the mistaken belief that the social security administration can look into a computer database that automatically reveals everywhere they've been for medical treatment. In other instances, it's probably true that the claimant overlooked a medical treatment source when filing their claim, and then never thought of the issue again--until it came up with their disability attorney or non-attorney claimant's representative.

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

Related pages:

Medical Records That Are Best For A Social Security Disability Claim
What if the disability examiner cannot find all the medical records?
How far back does Social Security look at medical records
What if you don't have current medical records?
Social Security Denied Me But Didnít Have All My Medical Records
Tips for Social Security Disability Psychological and mental testing
How Long does a Social Security Disability Determination take After Seeing the Psychologist?
Social Security Disability Mental Psychological Exam and Questions that get Asked
Does social security deny strong disability claims?
Social Security Disability is different from VA disability
Why are you denied the first time you are denied for disability?
What Happens To Social Security Disability Benefits After Divorce?
Can I do What I want with my Social Security Back Pay?
How much information should you put on a disability application?
What disability claimants get angry about - Part I
Social Security and not getting the medical records
Social Security Disability will sometimes order X-rays but never an MRI

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 provide answers to basic questions about pursuing disability benefits

How to file for disability, filing tips
What to Prove to Qualify for Disability Benefits
Applying for disability benefits, SSI and SSDI
What Disabilities Qualify for SSI and Social Security Disability?
Will you get disability back pay?
Social Security Disability And SSI Qualifications
Permanent Disability Qualifications for SSD and SSI
Social Security Disability SSI status
Disability lawyer representation, finding lawyers
Who will qualify for disability and what qualifying is based on
Qualifications for Disability Benefits
Important points about filing for disability
How long does it take to get disability after applying?
Am I Eligible For Social Security Disability?
Who is eligible for SSI disability?
How to get disability in Florida