HOW FREE MEDICAL RECORDS HELP YOU WIN DISABILITY BENEFITS
YOU MUST HAVE MEDICAL RECORDS TO WIN YOUR DISABILITY CASE
If you are like most people who apply for disability benefits, you need free medical records in order to win your disability benefits. You need free records, because it usually costs money to get a copy of your records. And, you don’t have a source of income since you aren’t working. In a Social Security Disability or SSI case, it is the claimant’s responsibility to provide the medical records to the Social Security Administration. The burden of proof is on you. Which means, you have to provide the medical evidence that shows your disabling impairment.
When you file your paperwork with the SSA, you list your physicians and treating sources. Then, the SSA should collect that information, but they don’t always do so. Especially if you need a copy of an old surgery or records from the past. The SSA only collects records after your onset date of disability. That is the date you say your disability began. But, most physical and mental conditions usually begin prior to that date. In fact, you may have a long history of chronic pain, surgeries, or mental impairments. You need to get those records.
Even if they do request records from your doctor, they may not request all of the record. Or, they may not request the most important parts of your medical record. It is up to you and your lawyer to make sure that the SSA has the entire record about your disabling impairments. Free medical records may make the difference between winning the claim.
WHAT MEDICAL RECORDS ARE IMPORTANT?
When you file your application for disability benefits, you give the SSA a list of your doctors. The SSA will contact those doctors and request their medical records. However, the SSA may not request the medical records that are important to your case. Let’s look at an example:
OBTAIN MEDICAL RECORDS THAT DOCUMENT THE HISTORY OF YOUR DISABLING IMPAIRMENT
Pretend that you recently stopped worked because of back pain due to degenerative arthritis. In other words, you have a back disability. Assume your last day of work was June 30, 2021 and you filed an application for benefits on July 15, 2021. In the last 10 years, since 2011, you have had 3 back operations. But, it wasn’t until this year that your doctor told you not to continue working as a cashier.
When you send your list of doctors to the SSA, chances are good that they are only going to get records back to your onset date of disability. Your onset date is the last day you worked, June 30, 2021. However, records since that date will not contain a copy of your 3 back operations. Also, recent records will not contain any of your MRI’s or X-rays of your back. Additionally, you went to Physical Therapy for two years after your last back operation. Those records will not be part of what the SSA collects.
It is crucial that the SSA understands the history of your back impairment. Therefore, you must provide a copy of all of your back operations. You will also need a copy of any testing, such as MRI’s and X-rays. Also, you will want to submit your physical therapy records that document your inability to lift and sit or stand for more than 15 minutes at a time. If you have chiropractic records, submit those. It is also important to submit all of the doctor’s progress notes from the past. These document your pain and medical treatment over time.
STATE LAW AND COPIES OF YOUR FREE MEDICAL RECORDS
Many states have laws that limit the amount doctor’s offices can charge for copies of your medical records. If you are seeking disability benefits in California, Nevada, or Utah, below is a summary of the law. Knowing the law will help you obtain your records for free or at a low cost. We recommend you request your progress notes every time you visit your doctor. That way, you have a copy of your medical records. Plus, you can provide a copy to your attorney and the SSA.
UTAH– A health care provider “may charge a reasonable fee to cover the health care provider costs” not to exceed $20 for locating the records, 50 cents per page for the first 40 pages and 30 cents per page for each additional page. Postage and sales tax may also be charged.
NEVADA – NO COST to provide medical records for a Social Security Disability or SSI claim or appeal, if the request is accompanied by documentation of the claim or appeal. No administrative fee may be charged.
CALIFORNIA – In California you can obtain one free copy of your records. One copy must be provided FREE OF CHARGE to individuals who appeal a denial of Medi-Cal, SSI or SSDI. This is true even if an attorney represents you. Even if that attorney is not advancing the costs of your claim.
Remember to collect all of your medical records, even if they are not free medical records. This includes copies of tests, like MRI’s, CT scans, and X-rays. Provide these to your attorney in order to prove your disability to the SSA.
CANNON DISABILITY LAW CAN HELP YOU WITH YOUR DISABILITY CASE AND WITH OBTAINING MEDICAL RECORDS
If you need help with your case and obtaining free medical records, then contact Cannon Disability Law. We can usually tell you over the phone if we can help you with your disability case. We believe our legal experience wins cases. For 30 years we have been winning disability cases like yours. We have successfully represented over 20,000 clients. Find out more About Us here.
Our law firm offers free consultations. However, we don’t take the disability case of every person who calls our office. We only accept representation in the cases that we believe the claimant has a disability that prevents them from working. You can call us for free and we can often tell you over the phone if we can help you win your disability benefits.
Learn more here about Nevada Disability Information here. We also help claimants in Idaho, California, Washington, Colorado, and Arizona. Also, we can help you file your application for benefits on the Social Security website. Contact Cannon Disability Law today and hire us to be your disability legal team. We work hard for our clients and we have the experience that you need to win your benefits.
WHAT DOES IT COST TO HIRE US?
We will use our skills to help you through the disability process. It is our goal to win your case. But, it also our goal to make it easier for you. We offer a free consultation. And, our hope is to help you obtain free medical records. There is no obligation to become a client if you call us. You can simply ask questions. Even if we don’t accept representation in your case, we will still try to help you.
It also doesn’t cost you any money to hire us. Why? Because you only pay us an attorney fee if we win your case. This is a contingency fee. It means if we win, you pay us out of your back benefits. If you do not win, you do not pay an attorney fee. How much is the fee? It is 25% of your back benefit. Also, the fee is capped at $6000. You never pay more than the cap. And, 25% is usually less than the $6000 cap. You will pay the lesser amount. Our fee is capped at $6000 or 25% of the past-due benefits, whatever is less. If we don’t win, you never have to pay an attorney fee.
If there are costs in your case, then you pay for those costs. But the costs are usually less than $100. Usually, the only cost is to pay for medical records. The cost of your medical records is set by your doctor. Some doctors use a record company to send the records. The goal is to get free medical records by asking your treating doctor for a personal copy.
You owe costs, such as medical record costs, whether we win or lose your case. That is why getting free medical records is the best option for you. However, when we win your case, your attorney fees are paid from your back benefit. But, to hire most lawyers, you have to pay a fee upfront. However, you can’t do that because you don’t have a job. We understand that. Which is why you only pay an attorney fee to us if we win your SSD and SSI case. We want to be your winning disability team.