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SSA - Will my disability lawyer get my medical records?

Many Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) applicants are curious about what a disability lawyer does to support their case. This blog will address what you can expect of your disability lawyer and how they will assess your medical record information.

Who will pull my medical records?

Generally, if you have applied for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) the Social Security Administration (SSA) will evaluate your disability application and determine if you meet the nonmedical requirements of SSDI: do you have enough work credits to be insured, is your condition severe, will it last 12 continuous months and are you working or making too much money. If you meet the most basic nonmedical requirements they will send your SSDI application to the appropriate Disability Determination Services Office (DDS).

If you do not meet the nonmedical requirements they will send you a denial letter stating why your case was denied and the process for appealing the denial (which must be done within 60 days from the date of the denial letter).

If your SSDI or SSI case does meet the nonmedical requirements for one of the disability programs and your case is sent to the DDS they will request your medical records from all of the treating sources you have listed on your disability application. The SSA will not pull every single medical record but will request specific dates of treatment.

How long will it take to get my medical records?

Getting medical records from doctors can be the most time-consuming part of the disability process. Although electronic medical records transfers have been implemented for some treating sources the process is not complete, and generally medical records have to be copied and sent to the SSA. Because millions of claimants apply for disability benefits each year this is a very difficult process.

What if I have my own medical records?

If you have a copy of your own medical records and they are recent the SSA most likely would like a copy. Talk to the SSA representative or your disability examiner to see if giving them a copy would help expedite your case.

What does the disability lawyer do?

A disability lawyer’s job really starts when you are scheduled for a disability hearing. Yes, they will file forms and check on the status of your application prior to the hearing but most of their work happens at the hearing.

Prior to the hearing they are generally given a copy of your disability file on C.D. by the SSA. On his disk is a copy of your medical records that they will review prior to your hearing date. If they are doing their job they should review this file well before your hearing and note any additional types of medical information they may need to prove that you are disabled and cannot work.

Some disability lawyers will send a residual capacity form to your doctor’s and ask that this form be completed.  The residual capacity form will help more clearly state your work limitations. The lawyer may also send you to a specialist to get additional evidence to support your case.

The disability lawyer will not have to request your medical records unless they are not included on your electronic disability file. There are times, however, that a doctors may refuse to provide medical records to the SSA. If a disability lawyer feels the information is critical to your case they could subpoena the doctor to get the information they need.
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