An important aspect of applying for disability benefits is collecting and submitting medical documentation to support your claim. This medical documentation validates your application and proves to the Social Security Administration that you are, in fact, disabled.Because this is such an important part of the application process, you should work with your medical professional (i.e. physician, psychiatrist, therapist, etc.) to prepare these supporting documents before you even begin the initial application.
Below we have listed a few key documents that you should submit along with your application for disability benefits. Keep in mind that this is not a complete list and that these items may not apply to all conditions.
You should provide records proving that an official diagnosis has been made by a medical professional. You should also include official documentation of any complications and symptoms that have occurred as a result of your diagnosed conditions.
It is important to gather this information for any and all conditions that you have been diagnosed with. This is due to the fact that the SSA will consider the effects of all conditions that you have.
For example: An applicant who has a brain tumor might not qualify for benefits. However, if the same applicant has also been diagnosed with cancer, he or she may be approved.
Emergency Room Visit Logs
If you have had frequent trips to the emergency room due to your condition, be sure to include an official record of each of your hospitalizations. This will demonstrate that your condition is severe enough to require frequent and immediate medical attention, thus interfering with your ability to gain or maintain employment.
Include documentation of any treatments you have been prescribed. This may include surgeries, therapies, or medications. You and your doctor should explain each treatment, how you respond to it, and any side effects that it causes.
This is important because it shows the SSA whether or not your condition is responding to treatment and how this treatment is affecting your ability to maintain employment.
Medical Testing & Results
It is crucial to present the results of any tests that you have undergone. Depending on your specific condition, the SSA may require that you present specific test results. These are listed in the SSA’s Blue Book.
Be sure to look over the Blue Book with the help of a medical professional to determine which tests need to be conducted. If you do not have certain tests or the test results are not up to the SSA’s standards, your claim may be delayed or even denied.
Medical Background & History
It is important to provide documentation of your medical background and history. These documents can demonstrate your abilities before and after becoming disabled and can provide proof that your condition is declining.
Statements from Physicians
When working with your physician, request that he or she write a statement to be included in your application for disability benefits. This statement should explain your condition and symptoms.
It should also explain the limitations you face and a professional opinion as to whether or not you can perform job-related duties.
This statement is important because it comes from a medical professional that likely knows your medical and personal history. This will often hold more weight than a statement from an SSA appointed medical examiner.
Although this list includes many of the important documents that you will need, do not hesitate to include any other records that you feel are important. The more relevant information you can provide, the better your chances of being approved.