Overview of Disability

Disability Back Pay

Disability Requirements

Disability Applications

Disability Advice Tips

How long do cases take?

How to win Disability

SSD Mistakes to avoid

Disability for Mental

What if you get denied?

How to file Appeals

Disability through SSA

SSI Disability Benefits

Disability for Children

How do I qualify for it?

Working and Disability

Disability Award Notice

Disability Lawyer Q&A

Disability Conditions List

What is a disability?

Your Medical Evidence

Filing for your Disability

Disability Eligibility

SSD SSI Definitions

Recent Questions

SSDRC Disability Blog

Social Security Disability Medical Records

All disability decisions are based on the information contained in a claimantís medical records. If you have been receiving ongoing medical treatment for a physical mental impairment, and your doctor agrees that you are too disabled to work, then you may assume that you will have little difficulty being approved for social security disability or SSI.

However, this is not necessarily the case, primarily because it is a social security disability examiner, and not your personal physician, who will decide if your medical condition is disabling, or if you are still able to work in spite of your symptoms.

How is a disability examiner capable of rendering a medical opinion, given that the examiner is neither an M.D. nor a mental health professional? Disability examiners do have a certain amount of medical training, and are therefore familiar with common medical terminology and symptoms. More importantly, they are educated in the conditions set forth in the Social Security Handbook that must be met in order to meet the definition of disability as set forth by the Social Security Administration (SSA).

In addition, a disability examiner gives greater weight to the opinions of the social security doctor in his unit and the processing unit supervisor than to a claimantís personal doctor.

Often a disability examiner or doctor will look at the exact same records as a claimantís treating physician, and interpret them quite differently. For this reason, those applying for disability benefits should ask their doctor for a copy of their medical records and become acquainted with what those records actually say about their condition.

Medical records and physician notes that do not include specific information about your symptoms and exactly how they limit your ability to work are not going to do you much good. It is actually fairly common for physicians to fail to provide such detailed information in their notes and patient records, probably due in some part to the fact that they do not work for the SSA and are not aware of what it takes to prove disability.

Because your medical records are so critical to your chances of being approved for disability, you should do everything in your power to make ensure that they are plentiful, detailed and readily available to the disability examiner in your case. Review your medical records so that you know if they support your claim and list activities that you are no longer able to perform due to your impairment.

If you retain legal counsel to represent you in your request for reconsideration appeal or your disability hearing, itís a good idea to work with your attorney or non-attorney rep in gathering your medical records or any statements your physician may be willing to write on your behalf, so that you can be sure that all of the relevant documents make it into the hands of those considering your claim as quickly as possible.

One other thing that can make the difference in getting approved for disability benefits is ongoing medical treatment for your conditionódo not stop seeing your doctor after you have filed a claim, even if it has been turned down. Gaps in your medical history will only hurt your case, and make it seem as if your condition was not so serious after all, or at least not serious enough to require continuous care.

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?

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