HOW TO BUILD MEDICAL RECORD EVIDENCE FOR YOUR DISABILITY CASE
Medical records are the single most important thing in your SSD case. Building that medical evidence is the best thing you can do to help yourself win SSD and SSI benefits.
At Cannon Disability Law, we can help you build your medical records and win your benefits. Unfortunately, many people who apply for SSDI and SSI benefits do not understand this simple fact. Instead, they think they can explain their medical condition to a judge and their explanation will win the case. Nothing could be further from the truth.
The law requires the SSA judge to find evidence in your medical records that proves you have a severe medical condition. The judge can only consider mental and physical conditions that are severe. This is the finding that will allow the judge to continue with her legal analysis of your case.
If the judge cannot find evidence of a severe medical condition in your records, then you will not win benefits. Instead, the judge will find that there is no medical evidence to support your testimony. You will, therefore, lose your case.
WHAT ARE MEDICAL RECORDS?
You do not want to lose your case. So, collect your medical records. But how can you know what your doctor writes in her progress notes? The simple answer is, you can’t. However, almost all doctors write honest progress notes. Those notes are about your visit to the doctor and will include the things you say. So, for example, if you complain of severe pain or serious mental symptoms, the doctor will write about those issues.
However, if you fail to mention your pain or your severe mental symptoms, like crying spells or panic attacks from anxiety. Then your doctor will not document your symptoms and there will be no evidence in your medical records stating you cannot work. It is even worse if you tell your doctor you are feeling “fine,” when in fact you are not. Many people go to the doctor for a visit and don’t tell the doctor how they are really feeling. Don’t do that.
Also, another problem occurs when people go to the doctor and focus on only one aspect of their health. For example, they may tell the doctor they have back pain, but forget to talk about their knee pain or ankle pain. This is especially common if you have a condition like back pain. Obviously, you would focus on only this one type of pain if you are visiting your doctor. Nevertheless, it is a mistake. Discuss all of your problems with your doctor.
MAKE A LIST OF YOUR PROBLEMS AND DISCUSS THEM WITH YOUR DOCTOR
Don’t focus on only one medical condition when you talk to your doctor. The advice we give to our clients is to write down a list of all of your medical problems so you can discuss them with the doctor.
Most people make a list of items they need when they go to the store. But, for some reason, they do not make a list of the things they want to discuss with their doctor. Surely, the items you want to discuss with your doctor are more important than a grocery list. So, make a list.
Doctors are busy and they have very little time to spend with each patient they treat. At most, you have 15-20 minutes to explain your problems to your doctor. Make sure you prepare yourself to make the most of your doctor visits. For example, if you are having back pain that shoots down one leg, tell this to the doctor. However, you must also tell the doctor how this impacts your ability to do your normal daily activities.
For example, you might want to tell the doctor that you have trouble sleeping due to pain. Likewise, you might want to explain how you cannot sit down, lift more than 10 pounds, drive a car, or stand long enough to take a shower. You might tell the doctor you cannot walk up or down the stairs without pain. Your doctor should provide you with a written medical opinion that you cannot work.
If you do not have these examples written down to tell the doctor, then you might forget to mention them. These are important examples of how your pain prevents you from doing normal activities. Tell your doctor about your limits so she understands that your symptoms are severe and prevent you from working.
WHAT EVIDENCE DOES MY ATTORNEY NEED TO WIN MY BENEFITS?
Your Social Security case is only as good as the evidence that you provide to your attorney. Many people believe an attorney can win a case simply by talking to the Judge. Or, some people believe if the attorney argues with the judge, then they will win. Unfortunately, that is not true. When an attorney presents your case in court, all of the arguments must be based on your medical evidence. If they are not, then the judge doesn’t need to accept the arguments.
In order to help your attorney, the first thing you need to do is tell her about all of your medical problems. Also, tell her the names of your doctors. For example, you may have a primary care doctor, but you might also have seen a counselor or visited an Emergency Room for treatment.
Your attorney needs to know about your monthly treatment for both physical and mental conditions. Also, she needs to know about your hospital visits, nursing home stays, or whether you are getting medical care in your home. Finally, without ongoing medical treatment, there is nothing that your attorney can say that will convince a judge that you should be paid benefits.
Your medical records need to show monthly treatment. Don’t quit going to the doctor for six months and then start going again right before your hearing. All this does is show the judge that your severe physical or mental condition is not serious enough for you to get treatment.
TELL YOUR ATTORNEY ABOUT YOUR MEDICAL RECORDS
You might be surprised to discover that many people fail to tell their attorney about where they can get medical records. For example, if a client has a back condition, they only focus on that. Therefore, they often forget to tell their attorney that they also see a counselor for anxiety. Or, maybe they think their mental issues are not important. So, they don’t tell the attorney about it.
This is a big mistake. And it will create problems for your case. If you fail to tell your attorney about all of your treatment, then the attorney will be getting all your medical evidence at the last minute. Or, if they don’t know about it, then they won’t get the records at all. Don’t let this happen. Tell your attorney early in the process about all of your medical problems. Because being unable to work can occur due to a combination of medical conditions, not just one.
When a Judge decides your case, they will be looking at you as a whole person. This includes all of your medical conditions and how they impact your ability to perform daily activities, get along with your family and friends, and work. Do not assume that your attorney knows all of this information, unless you tell her the information.
GET YOUR OWN COPY YOUR MEDICAL RECORDS
You should also not assume that your doctor is writing down everything you say. You should get a copy of your medical records for yourself. Read them. Once you do this, you can make sure your doctor is including all of your physical and mental symptoms in the records. If your symptoms are not in the record, ask the doctor to put them in.
It is important that your doctor describes the problems you are having that make it so you cannot work. If you go to the doctor and follow your treatment orders, then you will have medical evidence that documents your condition. Also, you will be able to provide medical records to the SSA.
Finally, communicate with your doctors and your attorney. For some reason, many people believe their medical records are, like magic, available in one place and are easy to collect. There is no magic about it. In order to get your records, first your attorney must know where you are getting treatment. Your attorney must then order your records from the doctor, the hospital, or the facility where you got treatment. Also, many times, if you had an X-ray or an MRI those records are stored at another facility. It is hard to hunt down medical records.
That is why it is a good idea for you to get a copy of all of your medical records. If you have them, it will save your attorney at lot of time. Also, if you have a copy, don’t write all over it and then expect your attorney to submit those to the court. Your attorney needs a clean copy of the records. Then, you will have a better chance of winning your SSDI and SSI benefits.
IF YOU NEED TO BUILD YOUR MEDICAL RECORD, THEN CONTACT OUR FREE MEDICAL RESOURCES
Believe it or not, many people want benefits, but they don’t want to go to the doctor. They say the doctor is too expensive. But our website has free and low cost medical lists in Utah and other states. No one can win your case if you do not have medical evidence. Therefore, we ask our clients to use this website to call the free and low cost doctors and get treatment.
For example, we have a list for free and low cost mental health services for Nevada. Our law firm also lists free health services in Colorado and free health resources in California. As such, there is really no excuse for one of our clients to not be seeing a doctor for their illness. Additionally, many clients have the option of Medicaid benefits and this will also pay for visits to the doctor.
Additionally, we have a list of free mental resources in Idaho and free physical health services in Idaho.We also have information about how to obtain your medical records for free. If you have medical insurance, use it. Visit your doctor. Tell your doctor what is wrong. Then, get treatment and follow it. None of our resources will do you any good if you don’t also go to the doctor on a routine basis.
Another thing that is very important is building a doctor and patient relationship. You cannot do this unless you visit the doctor on at least a monthly basis. Follow the advice of your doctor.
ATTEND THE SSA’S FREE DOCTOR EXAM
If you don’t have medical evidence, the SSA will often send you to one of their doctors for a free medical exam. The SSA pays for the exam. You must go.
If you don’t go, the SSA will automatically deny your case. You don’t want that to happen. Use the exam to tell the doctor what physical and mental conditions are making it impossible for you to work. For example, if you have liver cancer or breast cancer, or any other disease, bring your medical records to the exam. That way the SSA doctor can review them. Don’t rely on the SSA to send your medical records.
If you cannot attend the exam, you must call the SSA and inform them you have a conflict. Usually, they will give you a new appointment time. Whatever you do, do not miss the exam. They will not provide a new exam if you miss the visit without explanation.
On a mental exam, you visit the psychologist. The psychologist will interview you to see if you suffer from anxiety, PTSD, or any another mental condition. Find out more information about benefits for depression. Anxiety can also qualify you for SSD benefits. Likewise, information about PTSD is also on our website.
You should see the SSA doctor exam as an opportunity to explain your mental problems. For example, if you are depressed, you could discuss how you can’t sleep at night and don’t like to be around others. If you have anxiety, you can discuss your panic attacks. Likewise, you can talk about how you can no longer concentrate or follow instructions. You should make sure to describe all of your mental issues at the exam. Learn more here about how to prepare for your psychological exam.
WE ARE THE BEST SSD LEGAL TEAM YOU CAN HIRE
At Cannon Disability Law, we want to be your Social Security legal team. Our offices are located in Salt Lake City, Utah. However, we practice throughout the country. Additionally, we also have a location in Las Vegas, Nevada. We will travel to your local hearing office to represent you.
We can help you file your SSDI and SSI applications at the Social Security Website. Learn more about Utah SSD benefits here. Nevada SSD benefit information is also on the website. If you need more information about filing for benefit in Colorado or winning SSDI benefits in California, then read here. Our years of experience helps us build the medical evidence you need to win your SSD and SSI benefits.
If you are worried about hiring an SSD attorney because it costs too much, don’t be. We do not charge an attorney fee until we win your benefits. If we do win your case, then our attorney fee is set at 25% of your back due benefits, with a cap of $7200.
This does not mean we charge you $7200. Instead, it means we charge whatever fee is less between the two. So, if your back due benefit is $10,000, then our attorney fee would be $2500 or 25% of your back benefit. But, only if we win your benefits.
If we do not win your SSDI and SSI benefits, then we do not charge an attorney fee. If you do not win benefits, then we do not get paid. You have nothing to lose by letting us help you. Also, we offer a free review of your case. Contact us today for free.