Updated May 17, 2019
- The more thorough and complete your medical records are, the better chance you have of being approved. It can be time consuming to gather records, but they are the single most important thing that can gain your SSDI benefits approval. Make sure the records have contact information in case the examiner needs to get in touch with your medical professional.
- Make sure the medical records are legible. If you can’t read them, there’s a good chance the disability examiner can’t read them either. Typed records are best, but not always available.
- Evidence statements from your treating physician carry the most weight. The doctor you see on a regular basis will have the best information regarding your condition and Social Security will take this into consideration. Have your treating physician complete a Residual Functional Capacity Form to clearly and plainly document your current disabling condition. This makes both a disability examiner and an administrative law judge’s jobs easier. RFCs are not just for physical issues, if you are being treated for mental disorders, have your psychologist or psychiatrist complete an RFC on your behalf as well.
- Make sure your records are current and timely. While it’s important to document the onset date of your condition, it is vital to present the most current records possible, especially with a condition that changes frequently. As a rule, Social Security prefers records that are no more than 6 months old.
- Make sure your medical records are consistent with any testimony you give. Records that are well documented and then supported at an interview or at a hearing in front of an administrative law judge will go a long way to gaining approval for your application. Expect that a judge will be thorough in preparing to review your case, and plan accordingly.
- If your initial claim was denied due to a lack of supporting records, file an appeal and track down the additional information immediately. You only have 65 days to file an appeal for SSDI benefits if you are turned down initially. If part of your denial involves a lack of supporting records, act quickly, since sometimes it can take doctors and specialists weeks to get your vital records to you.
- Make sure you continue to follow your doctor’s orders to the letter. Social Security can deny a benefit claim if you don’t maintain the treatments or medications as prescribed to you by your doctor for as long as is needed.