TheElder & Disability Law Firm, APC
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How medical records impact SSDI and SSI determinations

Permanently disabled individuals in California and other states may want a better understanding of the role that their medical records might play in determining their eligibility for Social Security Disability benefits. Claimants may be surprised to learn that it is possible to file for Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income without submitting any records concerning past medical history. However, a favorable determination may be more likely when the disability examiner has access to a patient's pertinent past medical treatment records.

During the SS determination process, the disability examiner evaluates the ongoing severity of the disabling condition and the degree to which it interferes with the claimant's ability to work. The key to ultimately winning SSDI or SSI benefits may lie in written evidence of a disability that has severely limited the claimant's ability to perform normal daily functions over the course of time. Although an examiner must consider objective medical evidence that supports the claimant's allegations, a treating physician's notes could provide a unique, empirical perspective about the debilitating condition that goes beyond what is found in routine hospital or medical treatment center records.

If a claimant does not submit any current medical records, a consultative examination may be scheduled. In lieu of other sources, these mental or physical consultations provide the examiner with the claimant's current medical information so that a determination can be made. However, the information derived from the short, basic examinations may not adequately represent the true extent of the claimant's limitations.

In California, an attorney who is experienced in disability law may be able to help clients better navigate their Social Security Disability issues. A lawyer could gather the required medical information and treatment records and remain close at hand throughout the process. If a rightful claim is initially denied, an attorney could file an appeal and speak to the court on the client's behalf.

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