You will probably have lived with your disability for awhile before you apply for Social Security disability benefits, and you will understand very well the impact your condition has on your daily life. Because you have been seeing doctors and having tests and taking medication and undergoing treatments for weeks or months, your doctors also have a good idea of the effect of your disabling condition on your ability to function. Hopefully, the medical records and doctors’ notes regarding your progress can give a clear picture of the onset and severity of your disability, chart the progress of your condition, and show how you are responding to treatment. In addition, these records should be able to back up your contention that your residual functional capacity, that is, what you can do in spite of your disability, is not high enough for you to be able to work. After all, that is why you are applying for Social Security disability benefits.
When you go to the Social Security office for your interview, you will want to have these disability records available. Not only does it speed up the slow application process, it also keeps the Social Security Administration from requiring you to be examined by its specialists. It isn’t that the Social Security Administration’s medical specialists are incompetent, although they may be a bit biased toward screening out potential disability recipients. Rather it is simply the fact that you want to avoid having your disability case dependent on the results of a 15-30 minute exam by doctors who do not know you and do not have your history available to them.
The doctor’s recommendation will determine your residual functional capacity. If the doctor believes that you are able to work, your application will be denied. But what if your condition has its ups and downs, and you get examined on a relatively good day? The point is, avoid having your case depend on a one-time Social Security disability exam.
Avoiding this exam means you must have available your medical history for the past twelve months, or, at the least, for the past three months, and these records must specifically address the disabling condition you are asking Social Security to evaluate. If you have these records, then you reduce the chances of being asked to see a Social Security disability specialist to those instances where the Social Security Administration wants to have the opinion of a type of doctor you may not have seen. Even if Social Security orders an additional exam, your composite medical records will be on file to back up your disability claim.
If you go to the Social Security Administration without your medical records, you are basically at the mercy of the Social Security specialist who conducts your disability examination. Even with the best of intentions, no physician can thoroughly understand the case of a person he or she has seen for less than an hour, once in their life. It is to your great advantage to spend the time necessary to compile a thorough medical history that spans at least three months (and preferably a year) before you file for Social Security disability benefits.