Social Security Disability RC

How to file for disability, Filing for SSI
Disability Requirements, Disability Status
How long is the wait?, Disability Application
Social Security Disability list of impairments
How to Qualify for Disability, Mental Disability
Disability Lawyers FAQ, Disability Back Pay

What if I have no recent medical treatment for arthritis when I apply for disability?

"What will happen if I have no recent medical treatment for my arthritis when I apply for disability?"

Many disability applicants have no current medical treatment to substantiate their disability claim for arthritis. This is sometimes due to not having health insurance, or not being being able to afford co-pays.

With regard to medical record documentation, Social Security likes to have a twelve-month medical history, at the very least, to make a decision on a disability claim. This is so it can be determined how far back a disability may exist. And it is not out of the ordinary for a disability examiner to request records from five years prior.

However, to make a decision at all, Social Security must have access to recent records; examiners must have “current” medical information to make their decision. Social Security defines "current" as any medical treatment records that are ninety days or less old. I.E., to make the decision, there must be some medical evidence that is not older than three months.

If the disability examiner needs current medical information because it is not available from the medical records obtained from treatment sources, they will schedule you for a consultative medical examination. A CE, or consultative examination (What is a Social Security Consultative exam?), may be for a physical or a mental impairment. Very often, claimants are scheduled for both types of exams.

Such exams, if they are for a physical issue, tend to be short and are typically performed by an M.D. who has no past experience treating the claimant. Often, they last less than ten minutes. If the exam is for a mental issue, it may comprise psychological testing, a psychiatric evaluation, a mental status exam, or memory scale testing.

Most examinations are generally short status examinations geared toward providing just enough information for the disability examiner to make their medical disability determination.

However, some disability applicants will receive additional testing if the disability examiner feels that more information is needed. This may involve multiple consultative exams or perhaps an appointment to obtain xrays. In certain cases, a person may be sent to spirometry to assess their pulmonary lung function, or to audiometry for their hearing function, or to an eye exam.

In general, these examinations rarely lead to an approval for disability benefits. Despite that, these examinations are better than having no way to evaluate the severity of your arthritis. And, there is the chance that an approval for disability will result from your consultative examination simply by providing enough recent documenation so that an examiner will then be able to review the rest of the case file and the records that have been gathered.


1. Getting disability for arthritis?
2. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and arthritis qualify for disability
3. Can I get SSI for RA, Rheumatoid Arthritis?
4. Filing for disability with Rheumatoid Arthritis

Essential Questions

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Related pages:

Applying for disability for arthritis and medical treatment
Can I file for disability because of arthritis if I am still working?
Requirements for filing for disability with arthritis
Will I get Social Security Disability back pay?
Can I get permanent Social Security Disability
How much does Social Security Disability SSI pay?
Winning disability benefits, how do I win?
How to win your disability benefits
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These pages provide answers to basic questions about pursuing disability benefits

Social Security Disability status, How to check
How to find if a Social Security Disability claim has been approved or denied?
How to qualify for disability, who qualifies?
Qualify for disability, eligibility requirements, criteria
How long does a request for a disability hearing take?
How Long Will it Take To Get a Disability Decision Letter from Social Security?
How long does it take to get or be approved for SSI or Social Security Disability?
Applying for disability, how to apply, where to go
When should you File for Disability benefits
How Far Back Can SSI Back Pay Be Paid?
Maximum back pay you can get for Social Security Disability

For the sake of clarity, is not the Social Security Administration, nor is it associated or affiliated with SSA. This site is a personal, private website that is published, edited, and maintained by former caseworker and former disability claims examiner, Tim Moore, who was interviewed by the New York Times on the topic of Social Security Disability and SSI benefits in an article entitled "The Disability Mess" and also by the Los Angeles Times on the subject of political attempts to weaken the Social Security Disability system.

The goal of the site is to provide information about how Social Security Disability and SSI work, the idea being that qualified information may help claimants pursue their claims and appeals, potentially avoiding time-consuming mistakes. If you find the information on this site helpful and believe it would be helpful to others, feel free to share links to its homepage or other pages on website resource pages, blogs, or social media. Copying of this material, however, is prohibited.

To learn more about the author, please visit the homepage and view the "about this site" link near the bottom of the page.