Your medical evidence holds the key to winning your claim for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). The Social Security Administration (SSA), which administers SSDI as well as the other government disability program, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), has strict medical requirements that you must meet to get approved for benefits. You need compelling evidence to back up your claim, and without it, your chances of approval are lower.
A very good chance exists your SSDI lawyer will want to see all of your medical records the first time you sit down with them. They ask this for a couple of reasons. One, they want to make sure you indeed qualify for benefits before they invest time, energy, and money in your case. Two, by looking at your medical records, your lawyer can start to formulate a plan for your case.
What Your Medical Records Should Include
As a general rule, the more thorough your medical records, the better. You do not want to leave any gaps that the disability examiner has to try to fill in for themselves, because they may deny your claim on the grounds of insufficient evidence.
Accordingly, any claim you make in your application should be backed up by clear and compelling evidence. Ideally, that evidence will come from your medical records. Your records should include the following items:
By far the most important item in your medical records is a current diagnosis of the medical condition for which you are applying for disability, which is one of the reasons an SSDI lawyer will want to see all of your medical records.
The details of your diagnosis will help your lawyer decide how to go about making your case for benefits. One way is to try to get approved based on a “Blue Book” listing — a master list of approved conditions. Under each condition is a list of specific criteria you must meet to get approved for that condition. Most of these criteria are items the SSA wants to see in your diagnosis or lab test results.
By looking at your diagnosis, your attorney can determine if you meet the listing or if you are like most applicants and will have to take a different route to approval.
Lab Test Results
Next, your lawyer might want to take a look at your lab test results. These also play an important role in determining whether you meet the Blue Book criteria for a listed condition. Even if you do not, your labs shed light on the severity of your condition, which can help you convince the SSA that you deserve benefits.
Dates of Doctor Visits
Your application should show that you are undergoing regular care from at least one doctor. If you do not see your doctor regularly, you will have a hard time convincing the SSA that your condition is severe enough to justify disability benefits.
When your lawyer looks over the dates you have seen your treating physician, they may be able to use this as evidence of the severity of your condition.
A personal statement from your treating physician adds a nice touch to your application. In some cases, it can swing the decision in your favor. That is because not everything about your disability can be expressed in a diagnosis or in a bunch of lab values.
Based on your doctor’s observations of you over time, they can provide specific details about how your condition has affected you, as well as information about the types of work-related activities you can no longer do.
Your lawyer can read over this statement and determine if its inclusion will be beneficial to your claim.
If You Have Trouble Getting Your Medical Records
Most applicants can retrieve their medical records by calling their doctor’s office and making a request. Occasionally, though, an applicant has trouble, usually because the medical facility is overworked and pushes records requests to the side.
If you run into this issue, speak with your lawyer about it. Often, a polite but sternly worded letter from an attorney is all it takes for your records to suddenly appear within a day or two.
For a Free Case Evaluation With a Social Security Disability Attorney, Call 866-628-8179 Today
Before you apply for Social Security disability, speak with the dedicated attorneys at the Law Offices of Ogle, Elrod & Baril, PLLC. Our team has a long track record of getting benefits for our clients, and we want to help you next.
To schedule a free case evaluation, call our office today at 866-628-8179.