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

Getting your medical records together yourself could jumpstart your case

Tip 2:

You may wish to consider getting your medical records together and submitting them when you apply for disability. I have advised this for years based on my own experiences as a disability examiner and in the representation of claimants. To me, it is common sense and a good piece of advice. However, I am gratified to know that some judges have the exact same opinion about the initial filing stage.

Why is it a good idea to submit your records versus just letting Social Security gather your records? I speak from direct experience in this area. After a disability claim is taken through a Social Security office, it is sent to DDS (disability determination services, the agency that evaluates both SSD and SSI disability benefit claims).

At DDS (the agency may be called by a different name in your home state, such as "Bureau of Disability Determination; however, in most states it is called DDS and the federal Social Security Act actually refers to the various state disability agencies by this term), the claim is assigned to a disability examiner and the examiner's first function will be to request medical records from the treatment sources listed on the disability report form that was completed during the application.

This is where most disability cases experience their first slowdown. How slow? Weeks, and sometimes months. This can be due to several reasons. Sometimes, the medical treatment source is typically slow to responding to any and all requests for information. And sometimes the disability examiner will have difficulty locating the treatment source based on the information that was provided at the time of application (perhaps incorrect, or just incomplete).

Whatever the reason, it is not unusual for more than two or three months to go by before the records are eventually received. During this delay, the case cannot be worked on.

When a claimant gets their own records together and submits them at the time of application, the effect can be that the case, when it lands on the desk of the disability examiner, is "ready to go".

Of course, even when the claimant has gotten their own records, it will be very important that they:

A) have gotten records from all their sources of treatment,

B) have gotten medical records that are current (in the SSA system, you cannot be found disabled unless at least some of the records you have submitted are "recent" meaning no older than 90 days), and

C) have gotten records that go back to the time their disability began.

This is obviously important because you will want to prove the earliest possible onset date possible (when your disability is proven to have begun) so that you can receive the maximum amount of back pay for which you are entitled.

Note: if you have not yet filed a claim and plan to consult with a disability representative or disability attorney, you can discuss issues such as your onset date, your symptoms and conditions, and which medical records to focus on obtaining (for example, notes from a chiropractor's office will not be useful since Social Security does not consider chiropractors as acceptable medical sources).

Terms discussed:

  • Social Security Disability Back pay and How Long it Takes to Qualify for it

  • How does Social Security view your work and medical records

  • How Far Back Does Social Security Look At Your Medical Records?

  • 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:

    How can you speed up a Social Security Disability case?
    Dire Need and Getting a Social Security Disability or SSI Case Speeded Up
    Speeding up the Request for a Social Security Hearing - Documentation that is needed
    Getting your medical records can help speed up your disability case
    Can I get my Social Security Disability Hearing Request Expedited, Speeded up?
    The Time Involved on a Social Security Disability Decision
    Can a Lawyer Speed Up My Disability Case?
    Can a Congressional Inquiry Really Help to speed up Your Disability Case?
    Will I qualify for disability Benefits in Wisconsin?

    If you apply for disability in in Wisconsin

    Getting a Disability Lawyer in Wisconsin

    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.