When submitting Medical Records for disability, don't make this mistake

Here's a tip for anyone who is filing for Social Security Disability or filing for SSI disability. This one comes courtesy of a social security claims rep I know (A CR is, for those who are unaware, is an individual who, among other things, takes the application for disability in a social security field office. After the application is taken, of course, the file is transferred to a state disability agency where it is assigned to an examiner and then processed for a decision).

If you plan on submitting medical records when you submit your claim, don't make the mistake of thinking you can bring a huge pile of records (and medical evidence very often exists in huge piles) to the social security office and ask them to copy them all for you so you can take the same copies home with you. If you do this, this is what may happen: only about 10-15 pages of the gargantuan pile you have brought with you may be sent to DDS (disability determination services, the agency I mentioned in the first paragraph).

Why is this the case? The answer is very simple. Social Security claims reps are hugely busy these days. Oftentimes, they take up to 5 new disability applications per day, which means, on top of taking caring of their other duties (such as handling appeals, reviews, dealing with workman's comp issues and handing retirement claims), they have to...spend time interviewing up to five separate claimants. One has to wonder how they can even keep their wits considering the mere fact that it is practically impossible to ever get caught up on the workload (with ever higher numbers of cases coming through the door).

Being as busy as they are, the last thing nearly any field office claims rep has time to do is---copy huge piles of medical records so claimants can have the convenience of taking home a personal copy.

So, what do you do if you want to submit your medical records to the social security office when you apply for disability, yet want to keep a copy of the same records?

Again, the answer is very simple. when you get your medical records in hand, make another copy for yourself to keep. Then, when you go to the social security office to file a claim, GIVE THEM A COPY TO KEEP instead of asking them to make a copy of what you have. Because, if you do that, you stand a good chance of them only sending 10-15 pages to disability determination services. And, if that happens, what was even the point of getting copies of your medical records.

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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