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What medical records are required for Social Security Disability?

Many West Virginia residents are qualified to file for Social Security disability benefits. However, it can be difficult to figure out what sort of medical documentation is required for approval.

The U.S. Social Security Administration doesn't actually require applicants to present any past medical history in order to qualify for disability benefits, but it does require that a disability examiner confirm an applicant's eligibility for benefits. In order to do that, a disability examiner prefers to have past medical records. While hospital and emergency room records provide useful information, they don't provide an overall picture of an applicant's long-term limitations. However, things like physician's notes from a primary care doctor, imaging results, blood work, breathing test results and physical, occupational and speech therapy assessments can give an examiner real insight into an applicant's disability.

A disability examiner needs proof that an applicant's limitations are severe enough to disrupt his or her daily activities, including going to work, completing household chores, shopping, driving and paying bills. If an applicant has no current medical records, Social Security may arrange for him or her to undergo a consultative examination, or CE. However, these exams are brief and rarely provide an accurate reading of an applicant's disability.

Individuals applying for Social Security Disability may benefit from seeking the advice of an attorney. An attorney may help a client organize medical records and prepare the claim. He or she may also offer essential guidance throughout the application process. If a claim is denied, legal counsel might carefully review the reason for the denial and file an appeal on the client's behalf.

Source: SSD Resource Center, "How Far Back Does Social Security Look At Your Medical Records for an SSDI or SSI Case?," June 13, 2018

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