Medical Records are the Most Important Evidence in SSD Claims

by | Published on Oct 1, 2014 | Social Security Disability

An individual is eligible for a social security disability claim if his/her physical or mental condition curtails them from being able to work. Social Security requires that the applicant’s disability is supported by medical records from the treating physician. Any decision made will be on the basis of the information contained in the medical records. The records will be reviewed for information such as onset date of the impairment, prognosis and physical/mental limitations the impairment places on the applicant’s capability to work.

A social security disability lawyer helps applicants file for SSD. The lawyer will carefully review the medical evidence provided to determine whether it can support the claim. The important thing is that the medical records should provide a comprehensive, accurate picture of the claimant’s medical condition. Medical records that are in order will ensure that claimants receive a timely response on their claim.

Apart from the treating physician’s notes, medical records from clinics, hospitals and other healthcare settings will also be considered if signed by an “acceptable” healthcare provider. Medical opinions of licensed DOs (osteopaths), MDs, optometrists and psychologists are recognized. Opinions of chiropractors are not given much importance. Medical opinion from a physician with whom the claimant has had a long term relationship is considered the best evidence in a disability claim.

What if the applicant is too constrained financially to undergo regular medical treatment for his/her particular condition or doesn’t have a health insurance? In such cases the disability examiner will order a CE or consultative exam that can be physical, psychological, or psychiatric, and which will give the examiner an overview of the applicant’s current medical condition. CE is not very supportive for the disability claim because such an exam does not give the examiner anything more than a very basic understanding of the limitations caused by the specific impairment.

Social security disability lawyers ensure that the medical records submitted are opportune, precise and adequate. They can help applicants decide if their disability meets the Social Security’s definition of disability. In case a disability claim filed by an applicant is rejected, an SSD lawyer can help the applicant file an appeal through either Reconsideration or with an Administrative Law Judge depending on the next level of appeal in the applicant’s region. Appealing a denial is important because it ensures that the original filing date is preserved and the applicant does not lose any retrospective benefits when the approval comes through.

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