DisabilityLawyer.com – Most people who apply for Social Security Disability benefits are denied at the initial application stage. For those truly unable to work due to medical reasons, they should appeal their Social Security denials and hire an attorney. But what does Social Security need to see to approve you for benefits?
Social Security requires medical evidence from your medical records to decide if you are disabled. After you apply for Social Security benefits, Social Security learns where you are getting your medical care and requests these records. When Social Security gets your medical records (with your consent), it looks for four specific things:
1. Your diagnoses,
2. The reasons for your diagnoses,
3. Inconsistencies, and
4. Your limitations.
Here is more detail on each of these four factors. First, Social Security searches for your diagnosed impairments. If your doctors cannot name your medical problems, they essentially do not exist for Social Security’s purposes. Second, Social Security looks for the underlying reasons for your diagnoses. Your medical diagnoses will carry little weight with Social Security if there is scant objective evidence for them.
Third, when Social Security gets your medical records, it searches for inconsistencies that can detract from your claim. For example, you may not consistently report how bad your symptoms are. Your doctors may not all document your medical problems the same way. And your doctors, at times, may even disagree on what’s wrong with you. Note: Social Security tends to nullify inconsistent or conflicting medical evidence. Fourth, Social Security looks at your medical records to determine how you are limited physically and mentally. Your limitations, when objectively supported by your medical records, lay out the groundwork for why you cannot work.
This need for medical evidence for your Social Security claim does not bode well for those who cannot get health insurance. Better to find a free clinic than to do without. The frequency and quality of your medical care may also impact how you time your application for benefits. With proper legal advice, you may delay your application for Social Security benefits while you await a firm diagnosis or regular care to maximize your chance of a Social Security benefits approval at the application. But be careful. Waiting to apply, at times, can cost you benefits.
Understanding how Social Security evaluates your medical records highlights how important your treating doctor’s medical opinion can be. A supportive letter from your treating doctor outlining: (1) what’s wrong with you, (2) the support for your diagnosis, and (3) how he or she believes you are medically limited can clarify your disability in ways nothing else can. Treating medical opinions are so helpful that our disability lawyers ask hundreds of our potential clients each week whether they have supportive physicians.
So, get the medical treatment you need, make sure you trust that your doctors listen to you, and comply with your doctor’s orders the best you can. Your Social Security Disability claim, and your ability to keep a roof over your head, may hang in the balance.
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