Social Security Disability claims are won or lost on medical evidence. Your ability to provide timely and accurate medical documentation to the Social Security Administration (SSA) may make the difference between winning your claim or losing it. Therefore, it is critical that you ensure that all of your medical records are submitted for your Social Security claim.
While you do not have to submit all of your medical records personally, there are definite steps that you can take to help guarantee that all of your medical evidence arrives and makes it into your case record.
What Happens If All of My Records are Not Submitted in Time?
The Social Security Disability examiner will make every effort to obtain medical records from your doctor’s office or hospital, but not all of these files will make it into the hands of the examiner. Physician’s offices and medical record’s offices are often overwhelmed with requests for information. While some offices may be quick, it may take others months before they respond to the request. Even then, crucial medical evidence relevant to your application may be inadvertently missed.
Gathering all of your medical evidence is very time consuming. If the Disability Determination Services (DDS) office has received what they deem to be sufficient enough information, they might make a decision on your application, even if all of the requested medical documentation has not yet been received. If this occurs, you may not win your Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) claim.
What Can I Do if My Medical Records Have Not Yet Been Received by the SSA?
By obtaining medical records yourself, you will know what medical evidence you have on hand and what information you are still missing. Additionally, you can continue to follow up with the doctor’s office to ensure that they are on top of the medical records request. While a doctor’s office will respond to SSA requests for information, a patient’s personal inquiry sometimes helps to move the process along more quickly. If you do obtain any records, be sure to keep a copy for yourself as you might need them again down the road.
Keep in mind that some offices may charge a fee for the copying and processing of the records. Depending on the state that you live in and the length of your medical records, these costs can add up. There are a few things that you can try to help decrease your costs. For example, you may be able to request your records in electronic format. By doing so, you will save the “per page” copying fee that some offices charge. In some cases, you may want to speak directly to your doctor about obtaining your records. While offices can charge you fees for gathering your records, they are not required to do so, and may be flexible in your particular situation.
Remember, SSDI applications have been denied based on missing medical information. While obtaining your own medical records can be tedious, it is the one way to ensure that all of your documents make it to the SSA.
Can an Attorney Help Me Obtain and Organize My Medical Records?
An experienced Disability Attorney can assist you in obtaining your medical records. Your lawyer can request your records, but you must give signed and dated written consent. In all likelihood, your lawyer will want copies of your records so that he or she sort through them and determine which medial information is most relevant.
Most individuals who are seeking SSDI benefits will have comprehensive medical records. It can be overwhelming to sort through all of your records and decide which information is most important to relay. Working with an experienced Disability lawyer will help take the pressure off from you, as he or she can help obtain this information on your behalf.