Social Security Disability in Florida and What Your Medical Records Have to Say

If you have a pending disability claim in Florida, the Social Security Administration needs to determine the following:

A) whether or not you are currently disabled, and

B) when your disability began.

Obviously, older medical records can be used to determine your medical onset date. However, to determine whether or not a current state of disability exists, recent medical documentation will typically be needed. That recency requirement can be satisfied by standard medical records, gathered from your medical treatment sources.

However, a medical source statement or residual functional capacity form (what the physician's statement can be recorded on) can carry a lot of weight with an ALJ at a hearing, and, logically speaking, is more effective when it falls into the category of "recent documentation".Typically, a representative would want to have a statement from a treating physician that could be considered "recent medical record documentation", meaning not older than 90 days.

Being under the regular care of a physician is certainly beneficial a case as well. This, of course, would have an enhanced benefit if the doctor who sees you regularly is also the doctor who provided a statement on your behalf as it would indicate that the physician's stated opinion is actually derived from regular and recent contact with you.

Will your case be denied in Florida if you do not have a year's worth of psychiatric records by the time of your hearing? No. Cases are not denied for such reasons. Ideally, speaking, you and your disability attorney will want to provide as much extensive documentation as possible regarding your various impairments. And that typically means showing a documented history of treatment that extends further back than just a few weeks or months.

However, the social security administration's primary focus is on functional limitations and how those limitations inhibit your ability to peform substantial and gainful work activity, either work you've done in the past, or some other type of work for which you might be suited based on various medical and vocational factors.

As long as your medical records illustrate the existence of functional limitations that are severe enough to rule out the ability to engage in substantial and gainful work activity, that will be sufficient. In other words, when it comes to your medical records, verifying your functional limitations supercedes your actual length of treatment.

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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