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

Should you Look at the Disability File that Social Security has on You?

In many cases, it will be debatable as to whether or not claimants will be able to extract much useful information from reviewing their own file. This is because, unlike a disability examiner or a field office CR (CR stands for claims rep and claims reps are the individuals who take both social security retirement and disability claims at social security offices), or a disability attorney, the average claimant will probably have difficulty interpreting the information in the file.

And, in fact, without an understanding of the medical vocational disability rules used by social security examiners (and social security administrative law judges), it would be difficult to fully understand how a decision even gets made, let alone whether or not a mistake was made on a case, or if the decision is procedurally incorrect or if there is an evidentiary error.

However, having said this, the two facts still remain:

A. Claimants are always allowed to view the information contained in their file and even receive a copy of their file on disc simply by making a request for this information.

B. The information in the claimant's disability file CAN allow them to gain more of an understanding as to what previously happened in the processing of their claim.

Regarding B, for example, a claimant whose case has gone through the disability application and reconsideration appeal stages can, before the case gets to an administrative law judge hearing, find out the following by reviewing their file:

1. What evidence was gathered by the social security administration (SSA) via the disability examiner. By doing this, the claimant can also check to see whether or not all the evidence from a particular medical source was actually gathered, or even if entire sources of treatment were omitted and, as a result, were not part of the evaluation process.

2. How their past jobs were classified by the disability examiner. How the disability examiner classifies these job depends largely on the information provided by the claimant at the time they file for disability, but it also depends on the examiner matching the claimant's description of their job along with the job titles listed in something known as the DOT, or dictionary of occupational titles.

How a job is classified can be extremely important since, along with the job title, there will also be A) a rating of the requirements of the job and B) the skill level that goes with the job. The physical and mental requirements of the job and the skill level can set the stage for a case being denied on the basis of the claimant being able to do their past work, or being denied on the basis of being able to do some type of other work. And this is why proper classification can be crucial. However, sometimes disability examiners misidentify a job.

By reviewing the medical evidence that was previously considered by a disability examiner, and by looking at how past work was evaluated, a claimant can gain at least some understanding of what happened on their case. It can also allow a claimant to have a more detailed discussion regarding their claim when they decide to speak with a disability lawyer about handling their case either on the request for a reconsideration, or on the request for hearing before an administrative law judge.

Note: Claimants whose cases were based entirely, or in part, on a mental allegation (such as depression or bipolar disorder) will not be given the opportunity to review their mental medical records. This is because SSA has taken the position that it may not necessarily be in the claimant's best interests to read what their counselor or psychiatrist has written about their condition.

So, for example, if a claimant is sent to a mental CE (a consultative examination that usually involves assessing a mental status, performing a full psychiatric evaluatation, or doing memory or intelligence testing), they will not be able to obtain a copy of the report, though it can be sent to their treating physician and that person can choose what to divulge or not divulge to the claimant.

Likewise, if the claimant requests a copy of their file on disc, they will receive all portions of the file except those medical records that are related to mental treatment.

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:

Should you Look at the Disability File that Social Security has on You?
How do I apply for a Social Security Disability widow’s claim?
Who handles my case if I apply for Social Security Disability?
Social Security Disability Application Online
Can I apply for disability online?
Can I Collect Unemployment While I File For Disability Benefits (SSD or SSI)?
What medical conditions can you apply for disability for?
To Apply For SSI or SSD Disability Benefits, Where do I Start?
When You Apply For Disability, write Down Everything That Is Wrong With You
When I Apply For Disability, Should I List My Old Meds From Years Ago?
When I Apply for Disability - Should I apply for Social Security Disability or SSI?
What happens if you are working when you file for disability or work after you apply?
If Social Security Turns Down My Case Can I apply For Disability A Second Time?
How many hours can you work if you are receiving Social Security Disability?
Decisions on disability applications, fully and partially favorable
How do you get Social Security Disability?
File for disability or SSI in Pennsylvania
SSI Disability in Pennsylvania
Permanent Social Security Disability Pennsylvania

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.