Many West Virginia residents who are no longer able to work due to a disability file for Social Security benefits. These applicants may wonder how far back the Social Security Administration goes when looking at medical records for proof of a disability.
Submitting past medical records is not a requirement for filing a claim for disability benefits. However, prior medical records can provide useful insights into an applicant's condition. Hospital records may not provide sufficient information about an applicant's responses to previous treatment.
Prior records can provide vital information about how a one's impairment has affected them over time. Information about how a condition limits a person's ability to complete daily activities such as shopping, household chores and standing or sitting for long periods of time are helpful for getting approved for disability benefits.
Disability examiners can look at all types of medical reports such as imaging (X-rays, for example), blood work, breathing tests and counseling notes. The records must be from a qualified medical professional. For example, chiropractors are not currently considered qualified professionals for determining the extent of a disability by the Social Security Administration, but objective evidence in their records such as x-rays may be considered.
An attorney could assist an individual who has been refused Social Security disability payments. During the original application process, the local Social Security office will attempt to obtain records based on the medical providers and other information listed by the applicant. In a request for reconsideration or an appeal, the attorney may be able to provide additional information such as a letter from the applicant's primary care physician and prior medical records. This could ultimately help the client obtain approval for benefits.