When applying for Social Security Disability benefits, one of the most important pieces of information you will provide to the Social Security Administration is your medical records. The more medical evidence you can provide to support your case, the more likely you are to be approved for benefits.
Before applying for Social Security benefits you need to discuss your diagnosis with your doctor and make him or her aware of the fact that you will be applying for benefits. Perhaps your doctor can help you with the documentation you need to prove your disability. It is also a good idea to review your medical records in advance to make sure that your doctor has actually listed your diagnosis and not just your complaints of pain or injury. You will also want to see if the doctor has documented your limitations and restrictions caused by your disability. Many times these items are not listed in your records. There are also forms that you can have your doctor complete in order to supplement your case. These forms will include a checklist which will list your limitations.
When reviewing your medical records the disability examiner will be looking for several key items.
- A diagnosis – This is the most important piece of information you can provide in your case.
- Lengthy treatment records – This evidence will show long-term medical treatment associated with your disability.
- Compliance with medications and treatment – You will need to show that you are taking your prescribed medications and following your doctor’s orders for treatment.
Your medical records will help the examiner to establish when you became disabled, the current state of your disability and the ongoing state of your disability.
Further, please keep in mind that the Social Security Administration gives more weight to medical providers such as Physicians, Podiatrists, Optometrists and Psychologists. Other medical sources such as Chiropractors, Physical therapists, and Occupational therapists are given less weight however, their records and notes of treatment can still be very important for your case. From the acceptable sources the Disability Examiner will consider the nature and extent of the treatment, the number of times the treating source has seen you, the extent of examinations and testing performed, the degree to which the opinion is supported by relevant evidence and its consistency with other evidence.
The most important thing to take from this article is to make sure your medical records are complete and fully documented with your symptoms, diagnosis and your limitations. Complete records along with the support of your doctors can make the difference in winning your claim for Social Security benefits.
I specialize in social security disability and have been practicing law for over 20 years. My firm, James E. Short, PLC, is located in the Greenbrier section of Chesapeake. Please contact me today – free of charge – to discuss how I can help you recover the social security benefits you may be entitled to receive.