The Social Security disability process can frustrate the most patient applicant. Not only does the process take months to reach a conclusion, but the Social Security Administration (SSA) also denies a majority initial claims.
If you want to avoid the appeals process, you have to submit persuasive medical records for Social Security. The forms you need to have your doctor complete are SSA-827, physical RFC, mental RFC, your test results and a letter of recommendation.
Medical records represent the most influential type of evidence when it comes to getting your Social Security disability claim approved by the SSA.
The SSA relies on the medical advice given by a team of doctors that review your claim. In addition to the results of diagnostic tests and timekeeping records, there are a few key forms that can make the difference between receiving a denied claim letter and getting approved for Social Security disability benefits.
Social Security Document One: Medical Release Form SSA-827
When it comes to submitting medical records for Social Security, you have to put the horse before the cart. This means that before you get your doctor involved in the claim process, you have to seek permission for the SSA to contact your physician.
As one of the Social Security forms for doctors, Form SSA-827 grants the SSA permission to speak with your physician. The form also allows the SSA to access important medical documents.
Although submitting Form SSA-827 is not mandatory, failing to submit the form might result in the SSA denying your claim for Social Security disability benefits.
The first section of the form lists the medical records the SSA can access during the review process. For most claims, the SSA has access to most types of medical documents.
The primary exception is any psychotherapy notes taken during counseling for mental and emotional distress issues. The release form allows the SSA to access medical records for up to 12 months from the date that your physician signed the document. If your claim remains open for more than one year, the SSA will ask your doctor to sign a second release form.
Social Security Document Two: Physical RFC
The Social Security disability claim process starts when you submit all the paperwork that you have organized to the SSA for review.
A team of physicians from the SSA analyzes your claim to determine whether it meets the medical guidelines for defining a disability as listed in the Blue Book.
The Blue Book contains every medical condition, as well as the severity of symptoms that qualify claimants for financial assistance.
If the SSA denies your claim because you submitted insufficient medical evidence, then the next step for you to take involves undergoing a Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) assessment.
An RFC describes the maximum amount of work that you can complete while dealing with a debilitating illness or injury.
As one of the most important Social Security forms for doctors to fill out, an RFC assessment takes place at the nearest SSA office under the supervision of an SSA physician. However, you can ask your doctor to conduct an RFC assessment as well.
There are a couple of reasons why undergoing an RFC assessment with your physician makes sense. First, the doctor representing the SSA might be biased about your condition.
The SSA wants to limit the number of approved Social Security disability claims for financial reasons. Your physician is also the healthcare provider who is most familiar with your medical condition.
The physical RFC form includes a section that describes your physical limitations. For example, if you spend most of the day on your feet and suffer from a disease that produces chronic fatigue, your doctor will describe how long you should remain standing at work each day.
Social Security Document Three: Mental RFC
Not all illnesses cause physical pain. The SSA also recognizes Social Security disability claims that demonstrate how a mental illness has made it difficult, if not impossible for a worker to hold down a steady job.
The SSA uses the same process for analyzing mental illnesses as it does for examining the physical symptoms of an illness.
You have to meet the listing criteria written into the Blue Book. If you do not meet the criteria established in the Blue Book for a mental illness, the SSA has the legal power to require you to undergo a mental Residual Functional Capacity assessment.
A mental RFC asks questions that pertain to your ability to perform job functions while suffering from a mental disorder. The key is for you to demonstrate what you can and cannot do while dealing with a mental illness.
If you work a job that demands intensive concentration for extended periods, then suffering from a mental disorder might prevent you from completing standard daily job functions.
Social Security Document Four: All Test Results
We have come to the most important series of medical records for Social Security: The results of your diagnostic tests. Tests such as EKGs, x-rays, and CT scans can prove that you suffer from illness or injury-related symptoms.
The team of doctors at the SSA reviews your medical records and then compares them to the criteria listed in the SSA Blue Book.
Your physician can send your medical records electronically or through the United States Postal Service (USPS). The results of diagnostic tests confirm the development of a disease or the suffering of an injury.
Medical records give your Social Security disability claim more credibility. Although diagnostic tests run by your doctor are important to include in a claim, you also want to include the results of specialized diagnostic tests.
A healthcare provider trained and educated to diagnose your medical condition makes your disability claim even more legitimate in the eyes of the SSA. The most effective way to get an appointment with a specialist is for your physician to schedule the appointment for you.
If you suffer from a mental illness that impairs your performance at work, your physician might be able to submit physical evidence that brain trauma has contributed to your mental decline.
For most cases, a mental health therapist puts you through a series of cognitive tests to prove you suffer from the symptoms of a mental disorder.
The SSA has established strict criteria for approving claims that involve mental disorders, which means you should submit the most persuasive mental diagnostic results possible.
Social Security Document Five: Letter of Recommendation
Of all the Social Security forms for doctors to fill out, the letter of recommendation represents the most personal form submitted by your physician. Just like a letter recommendation for entrance into a college or for a document to submit with a job application, a compelling letter of recommendation submitted to the SSA by your doctor can be the document that gets you what you want from the SSA.
Share your concerns about your medical condition with your doctor, as well as follow every step of the treatment and rehabilitation process.
One of the most important sections of a letter of recommendation is the section that describes your medical prognosis. Not only can a medical prognosis convince the SSA to approve your claim, but it also estimates how much longer you should be compromised by a qualifying illness or injury.
A medical prognosis also provides the SSA with a timeline for your recovery, which can mean a higher payout to take care of future healthcare costs.
Here is what your physician should include in your letter of recommendation:
- Your medical condition
- A detailed description of the illness and disease
- Medical evidence that describes your symptoms
- Your physician’s explanation as to why the medical evidence supports your claim
- An explanation of your limitations
- A prognosis for future medical treatment and rehabilitation
Starting the Process of Retrieving Social Security Forms for Doctors
The Social Security disability claim process includes a few deadlines that you need to meet. You need to file all of the medical records that we have discussed in a timely manner.
One missed deadline can force you to start over and submit a new disability claim. This means you have to be proactive when it comes to teaming up with your doctor to submit the most convincing medical evidence.
Start the process by informing your physicians that you plan to submit a Social Security disability claim. You can accomplish this in person or by sending an email.
Describe how your doctor can make the difference between the SSA approving your claim or sending you to step one of the appeals process.
Giving your physician advanced about your intentions allows your doctor to start organizing your medical records, as well as plan for future diagnostic tests.
If you need help submitting a claim for Social Security disability benefits, consider teaming up with a Social Security attorney. A lawyer not only helps you meet deadlines and organize evidence, but your legal counsel also might be able to recommend a physician who has experience filing Social Security forms for doctors.