Social Security Disability Resource Center

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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?

  • What medical conditions will get you approved for disability?

  • What kind of Mental Problems Qualify for Disability?

  • Which conditions will social security recognize as a disability?

  • Tips for getting Social Security Disability or SSI benefits approved

  • SSDRC Homepage:

    Social Security Disability and SSI Resource Center

    The Most Basic questions about Getting Disability Benefits

    Social Security Disability SSI and whether or not you can work

    Common Mistakes to avoid after being denied for Disability

    Social Security Disability SSI Questions and Answers

    More Social Security Disability SSI Questions and Answers

    Common Questions about Social Security Disability and SSI

    Winning Social Security Disability or SSI Benefits

    The SSI Disability Benefits Program

    Medical exams for disability claims

    Applying for Disability in various states

    Social Security Disability SSI and Doctors - Yours and Theirs

    Social Security Disability and SSI Claim Reviews

    Social Security Disability SSI System and Benefits for Children

    Denials, Appeals, and Getting a Disability Lawyer or Representative

    What you should know about Social Security Disability and SSI Denials

    Questions about Disability Lawyers and Hiring a Disability Attorney

    Frequently asked questions about getting Denied for Disability Benefits

    FAQ on Disability Claim Representation

    Disability hearings before Judges

    Selecting and hiring Disability Lawyers

    Various Types of Benefits including SSI, Mental, and Child benefits

    Social Security and SSI based on Mental Disability

    Social Security Disability or SSI Benefits for Children

    Disability Benefits through Social Security

    Filing for Social Security Disability or SSI Benefits

    Social Security Disability SSI: Medical Evidence and Records

    Filing your claim for disability benefits

    Eligibility for receiving disability benefits

    Info about Social Security Disability Approvals and Being Approved

    FAQ on Social Security Disability SSI decisions

    The SSD SSI Decision Process and what gets taken into consideration

    Resources on this site

    Social Security Disability, SSI Terms and Definitions

    Previously answered questions regarding SSD and SSI

    For Individuals living in North Carolina

    Applying for Disability in North Carolina

    North Carolina Disability Lawyer

    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.

    Filing for disability - How to file for SSD or SSI and the Information that is needed by Social Security
    How to Apply for Disability - What medical conditions can you apply and qualify for?
    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?
    How to Prove you are disabled and qualify to win disability benefits
    How do you prove your disability case if you have a mental condition or impairment?
    Social Security Disability Back pay and How Long it Takes to Qualify for it and receive it
    Social Security Disability SSI - Eligibility Requirements and Qualifications Criteria