Can Social Security find all your medical records?

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After a person has completed everything they need to apply for disability (usually with a local office), their case is sent to a disability examiner so it can be reviewed and decided. Typically, the very first thing an examiner will do is to begin ordering the medical records based on the treatment sources listed by the claimant.

Social Security disability examiners attempt to get all medical records from the medical sources you provided during your disability interview. However, they cannot find medical records that you did not provide nor can they get medical records that have been destroyed. Each state requires medical professionals to keep their records for a certain amount of years, after which they can destroy them. If your medical records are the result of treatment years in the past, they may or may not be available.

On the subject of medical records, you are not responsible for acquiring your own medical records. Social Security does not want to cause further hardship for disability applicants by requiring that they pay for copies of their medical records. If you do not have your medical treatment records, you do not have to spend your money to get them. Social Security will pay for copies of your medical records. In summary, Social Security will get your medical records if they are available and they will pay for them.

That said, however, if a person obtains all their medical records, from the date that they allege that their disability began until their most recent date of treatment, and submits these records at the time of filing for disability, it may potentially shave a considerable amount of processing time off the case. However, simply submitting some of your records will not be enough for this purpose. Disability examiners need to have recent medical records, so it would be important to include these.

Also, some claimants obtain records from some of their treatment providers, but not all of them. Again, this does not help to speed up the process either since an examiner may have to request those particular records. And, finally, many claimants who obtain their own records fail to get the records that actually go back to the time they became disabled.

In other words, these are the records that validate the start of their disability. Which is important considering that an onset date will determine how much Social Security back pay a person gets.



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