Developing a disability may interfere with your employment and ability to earn a living. Fortunately, government benefits support hardworking people like you who have sustained a debilitating injury or illness. If you qualify for the Social Security disability program, you may be entitled to long-term benefits.
The Social Security Administration (SSA) has strict criteria for determining your eligibility. To prove that your medical condition is indeed a disability, you must present medical records that support this claim. Here are the medical records you need and the appropriate times to submit them.
Medical Records to Submit When Filing for Disability Benefits
You’ll need objective medical tests, diagnoses, and opinions from professionals who specialize in your specific disability. These records may include:
- Diagnostic tests and imaging: Submit X-rays, MRIs, CT scans, EKGs, EEGs, blood tests, and other records demonstrating your diagnosis.
- Early medical records: Proof of prior surgeries, physical therapy, and anything else pertaining to your disability is relevant, no matter how old the records are.
- Current medical records: One criterion for demonstrating disability is that the condition is expected to last for at least a year or may result in death. Your most recent medical records may be necessary to prove this.
- Other information: Obtain physician statements, a residual functional capacity form, and any other evidence that supports your claim.
When to Submit Medical Records
The SSA requires medical records at every step of your disability case. Follow this timeline to help you know to submit your records:
- When you first apply: When you apply for benefits or file a reconsideration, a claims examiner from Disability Determination Services (DDS) is responsible for obtaining your medical records. Still, it’s wise to include your own copy when submitting your application to the SSA. This way, you know that early records, including those confirming your diagnosis, are included.
- If you receive a denial: If the SSA denies your claim at any point, make sure they have a copy of all pertinent medical records.
- Prior to attending a disability hearing: You may request a hearing before an administrative law judge (ALJ). If so, you should be notified two months in advance of the hearing date. During this time, gather your medical records and submit them at least five business days (one week) before the hearing. If you have a disability attorney, you can give them legal permission to obtain and submit the records on your behalf.
Get Help Filing for Social Security Disability Benefits
If you need assistance applying for disability benefits, submitting your medical records, or fighting a denial from the SSA, turn to Gelman Gelman Wiskow & McCarthy LLC. We have 65 years of combined experience advocating for the rights of disabled individuals in New Jersey. Our Social Security disability attorney will guide you through the red tape involved in collecting the benefits you’re entitled to. Contact us at 862-263-0770 today to request a free, one-hour consultation. A Spanish translator is available upon request.