How to file for disability, Filing for SSI
Disability Requirements, Disability Status
How long is the wait?, Disability Application
The Social Security List of Impairments
Qualifying for Disability, Mental Disability
Disability Lawyer Info, Disability Back Pay

Social Security Disability Medical Records

All disability decisions are based on the information contained in a claimant’s 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 claimant’s personal doctor.

Often a disability examiner or doctor will look at the exact same records as a claimant’s 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, it’s 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 condition—do 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.

Essential Questions

What is the Social Security Disability SSI list of impairments?

Can you work while getting or applying for Disability?

How Often Does Social Security Approve Disability The First Time You Apply?

Tips for getting Social Security Disability or SSI benefits approved

What medical conditions will get you approved for disability?

What kind of Mental Problems Qualify for Disability?

Receiving a Disability Award Letter

Conditions Social Security will recognize as a disability

Previously answered questions regarding SSD and SSI

Applying for disability in your state

Most popular topics on SSDRC.com

Social Security Disability SSI Questions

The listings, list of disabling impairments

Can a mental illness qualify you for disability?

Disability Lawyers prevent unnecessary denials

How much Social Security Disability SSI back pay?

How to apply for disability for a child or children

Filing a Social Security Disability SSI application

Filing for disability - when to file

How to apply for disability - where to apply

Qualifications for disability benefits

How to Prove you are disabled and Win your Disability Benefits

Qualifying for Disability - The Process

How to get disability for depression

Getting disability for fibromyalgia

SSI disability for children with ADHD

What is the Application Process for Social Security Disability and SSI?

Common Mistakes to avoid after being denied for Disability

Social Security Disability SSI Exam tips

More Social Security Disability SSI Questions

Social Security Disability SSI definitions

What makes you eligible for Social Security Disability or SSI?

New and featured pages on SSDRC.com

Who can help me file for disability?

Related pages:

Social Security Denied Me But Didn’t 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?

These pages answer some of the most basic questions for individuals who are considering filing a claim.

Can you get temporary Social Security Disability or SSI benefits?

Permanent Social Security Disability

What is the difference between Social Security Disability and SSI?

Who is eligible for SSI disability?

Can I Be Eligible For SSI And Social Security Disability At The Same Time?

What makes a person eligible to receive disability benefits?

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?

For the sake of clarity, SSDRC.com 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 SSDRC.com homepage and view the "about this site" link near the bottom of the page.