THE IMPORTANCE OF MEDICAL RECORDS IN YOUR DISABILITY CASE
THE SSA NEEDS MEDICAL RECORDS AT EVERY LEVEL OF THE DISABILITY CASE
It is paramount that you understand the importance of collecting all of your medical records when you apply for disability benefits. When you first apply for benefits, you should include a copy of your medical records with your application. This is true even though Disability Determination Services (DDS), the state agency, collects your medical records. The reason you should submit your own records is that DDS may not collect everything. For example, if you were diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in the past, DDS will probably not collect old records. However, these records are important to your case, because they confirm the beginning of your illness. They also show your diagnosis and may contain objective medical testing.
If you receive a denial at any stage of the process, you should make sure the SSA has a copy of all of your medical records. You may receive a letter that states your doctor has not sent your records. The letter might only give 10 days to respond. Instead of worrying about the 10 day time frame, use your time to collect the records and get them into the SSA. Additionally, you must update all of your medical records prior to attending a hearing.
YOUR TREATING PHYSICIAN VERSUS THE SSA NON-TREATING PHYSICIAN
The SSA has changed the law and states they don’t have to rely on the opinion of your treating physician. They also say they don’t even have to listen to the opinion of their own physician. Rather, all medical opinions are equal and the opinion that a judge can rely on is the one that is best supported by the medical records. While it may seem unfair that the SSA doesn’t have to accept your treating doctor’s opinion, that is the now the law. If you want it changed, contact your Congressman. Meanwhile, make sure you are seeing a specialist who supports your disability claim.
For example, if you have a mental impairment, see a psychiatrist or psychologist. These are the treating sources who have expertise in mental disabilities. If you have records from them, that should go a long way toward convincing a judge. Likewise, if you have a physical impairment, like Multiple Sclerosis, see a specialist for treatment. A reasonable judge is going to accept the opinion of a treating specialist over the opinion of a general doctor who doesn’t know you and only reviewed your records.
Even if your doctor writes a letter stating you are disabled, the SSA doesn’t have to give it much weight, unless the medical records support that opinion. In other words, submit all of your medical records as soon as possible. This includes records of past surgeries, x-ray, MRIs, CT scans, EKGs, EEGs, physical therapy records, blood tests, and any other evidence from a medical professional.
SUBMIT ALL RECORDS PRIOR TO THE DEADLINE
The second thing that is important to winning your disability hearing is knowing the submission rules. There are firm deadlines on when to submit medical records. The SSA has issued a rule that all medical records must be submitted five days prior to your hearing and in typical lawyerly fashion, this means five “working” days. In other words, the deadline for submission of records is SEVEN days prior to a hearing. If you are submitting evidence past the deadline, then you must have a good reason as to why it was not submitted on time.
Remember, everything must be in the record one week prior to the hearing. There are good reasons for this rule. The SSA is dealing with thousands of hearings across the nation. It helps SSA’s efficiency to have the evidence so the judge and experts can review it. The bottom line is this: one week prior to the hearing is the deadline for submitting your medical records.
If you fail to submit records one week prior to the hearing, the judge doesn’t have to admit them into the record. That means she doesn’t have to consider them. Don’t wait until the last minute to submit your records or to give all of your records to your attorney so she can submit them. Prepare in advance and you will have a better chance of winning your disability benefits. Hire Cannon Disability Law to help you obtain the evidence that you need to win your disability case.
CANNON DISABILITY LAW AND FREE MEDICAL RESOURCES
If you need help submitting medical records, contact us today. Also, if you are awaiting your disability hearing or have a denial from the SSA, we can help. We have won thousands of disability cases and we can help you win your case. It does not cost anything to call our office or to ask us questions. Also, if can accept representation in your case, you do not have to pay an attorney fee unless we win. You will have to pay the cost of your medical records, whether you win or lose your case. But you do not owe an attorney fee if we are not successful. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain by hiring us. Call our office for free, today. If you need medical help or counseling, and you cannot afford it, please see our list of free resources in Utah and Nevada on this website. We hope you use the resources to get the medical care you need. We also hope you use these medical resources so you can obtain medical records to win your disability case.