How do I get a copy of my Social Security Disability File on disc?

Social Security has always allowed disability applicants access to the information contained in their disability folders, with the exception of mental health medical records.

However, social Security is moving toward paperless case processing; consequently most disability folders or files are now electronically stored. Therefore, the only way for disability applicants to review the medical information contained in their disability file is to request a CD.

Disability applicants can request a copy of the disability file on disc (CD) by completing a form 3288 (release of information) and returning it to their local Social Security office. Once SSA has received a claimant's request, the disability file will be copied to a CD and given to them personally or mailed out. Social Security provides only one free copy per disability applicant, and as I stated above no mental health records are released.

If an individual wants mental health records, they will have to have their disability file sent to their treating physician, if they have no formal representation.

However,if an applicant has formal representation, their representative can request the entire disability file (including mental health notes) provided they have a signed form SSA 1696 (the form used to designate a representative, such as a disability lawyer or a non-attorney disability representative)

The important things to remember when requesting a copy of your Social Security Disability file is that you are entitled to a copy, but you can only have one free copy. If you need more than one copy of your disability file, there will be a charge for copying.

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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