The Importance Of Medical Records In Disability Cases

Medical records form the foundation of successful Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) applications and appeals. The Social Security Administration (SSA) relies heavily on medical records to determine if you have a qualifying disability, your capacity to work a regular job, and if your condition is likely to last more than 12 months or result in your death.

At the Law Office of Maggie R. Schott, PLLC, we apply our years of knowledge about how SSA processes disability claims to aid clients in gaining access to the SSDI and Supplemental Security Income benefits that you need. Disability can happen to anyone; we make no judgments about what brought you to our office. Our goal is to deliver compassionate, respectful and effective advocacy for your SSA disability claims.

Benchmarks For Useful Medical Records

Medical records extend far beyond the examination notes that your doctor takes during office visits. Medical evidence also can include blood work results, imaging studies (X-ray, CAT scans, MRIs), mental health records and many other documents. Regardless of the format, medical records, in order to be helpful to your disability case, must be:

  • Timely meaning that they show a recent "picture" of how your condition is affecting your life. Records from the previous six months are a must; older records can provide context for how your disabling condition has progressed.
  • Accurate — this means that the records correctly describe your condition. The records must be written or presented in a manner that is in alignment with the terminology or diagnostic criteria of medical doctors, and must not be contradicted by other tests or forms of objective evidence.
  • Sufficient this refers to the records being detailed and plentiful enough that the SSA can make an independent judgment about the nature and severity of your condition. For example, if your qualifying diagnosis is HIV/AIDS, or cancer, there are very specific tests and results Social Security will need to have in hand before they will accept your treating physician's diagnosis.

Get Help Putting The Pieces Of Your Social Security Disability "Puzzle" Together

We are committed to compassionate, judgment-free representation for clients in Eastern Washington and the Idaho Panhandle seeking Social Security Disability benefits. For assistance with filing an SSD claim or appealing a denial, call our office in Spokane at 509-209-9668 or email us to set up a free initial consultation with a lawyer.