Can you be denied for SSDI or SSI disability if social security cannot find your medical records?

Every SSDI --Social Security Disability insurance -- and SSI claim is determined according to both medical and vocational information, meaning information regarding an individual's medical history and work history.

However, while the importance of one's employment history cannot be overstated (after all, it is the type of work that a person performed in their work history that determines A) what types of jobs they may or may not be capable of returning to and B) what skills they may possess that might allow them to perform some new form of "other work"), all disability claims begin and end with...the medical records.

If the disability examiner who is working on the SSDI or SSI claim cannot locate the medical records, it will become very difficult to even process the case, let alone approve the claim.

How often is it the case that social security cannot locate a claimant's medical records?

It is very infrequent that SSA (meaning the disability examiner) cannot locate all of a claimant's medical records. At the same, it is not extremely uncommon for at least one of the claimant's treatment sources to be unlocatable.

Why does this happen? Sometimes, this is because a clinic has merged with another or because a physician in a small independent practice has moved out of state or has retired.

Usually, though, the inability of the disability examiner to obtain medical records from a particular treatment source is simply because the claimant has provided inaccurate information at the time of filing for disability, such as an incorrect name for the physician, an incomplete address, or a incorrect name for the medical practice.

Even when this occurs, the examiner can often work around the incorrect information and, through some investigative effort, manage to come up with enough contact information so that a MER letter can be sent out (MER stands for medical evidence of record and this is the letter that is sent out to all identified sources of treatment requesting that medical records be sent back).

More information at: What happens if the disability examiner cannot find all the needed medical records?

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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