Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Social Security and Medical Records

A large majority of Social Security Disability claims take several appeals before they are finally successful.  In and around Sacramento, the entire process can take over two years.  However, there are steps you can take throughout this period in order to make your case as strong as possible.

The most important thing to remember is that Social Security Disability claims can only be successful if there is medical evidence to support those claims.  This means that there must be medical records detailing your disabilities that the SSA representative and/or Administrative Law Judge can review. Ideally, there will be records from the date that you claim to have become disabled on, up through the present date.  In order to ensure that there are sufficient medical records documenting your disabilities, you must see your medical providers as regularly as possible.  This is true even if you have been told that there is nothing else that your health professionals can do for you; if there is no further treatment to undergo, continue to see them regularly for checkups.

While medical records are arguably the most important evidence in determining disability, other evidence is also useful.  One particularly useful piece of evidence is called a Residual Functional Capacity form (also called a Medical Source Statement).  This is a form that is filled out by your health professionals, and that gives their opinions on your specific limitations in the way that the Social Security Administration views them.  This form can be found on the Social Security Administration's website.  Keep in mind that not all medical providers feel comfortable filling these forms out, and that's okay.  While they're helpful, they’re not necessary.  If you do get a form filled out, it should be submitted to the Social Security Administration as soon as possible.  Depending on the impairments (specific disabilities) that you are alleging, it may be helpful to get Residual Functional Capacity forms from several different physicians (for example an orthopedic doctor, a pain management specialist, and a psychiatrist). It is also useful to get repeated forms from the same doctor after some time has passed, in order to show if your condition has gotten better, worse, or stayed the same.

A Social Security Disability lawyer can help ensure that you are seeing the correct health care professionals, and that your medical records are being submitted timely to the Social Security Administration. They can also work with your health care providers to have Residual Functional Capacity forms filled out on your behalf. 

If you have questions or are interested in starting the social security application process, please contact attorney Andrew Doriott at (916) 491-4224.