The medical records you need for your Atlanta Social Security disability claim

Particularly if you end up appealing your disability claim to an Atlanta Administrative Law Judge, you need to be sure that the hearing exhibit file contains all of your relevant medical records.

The Social Security Administration needs a lot of medical documentation, and it does not want to just get conclusions; it wants to see the medical test results themselves.

Importance of medical records for disability claims based on meeting a listing

The Social Security Administration uses a “five-step sequential evaluation process” to decide whether or not you qualify for disability benefits. The third, and often the most important step in that process, is to determine whether your impairment meets or equals an impairment described in the Social Security regulations. The description of impairments in the regulations is called the “Listing of Impairments” or “listings” for short.

Getting a complete file of all medical records is particularly important if your claim is based on the listings because the introductory sections to the listing contain specific requirements for particular kinds of medical evidence. For example, in cardiac cases the Social Security Administration requires copies of the electrocardiogram tracings as well as the cardiologist’s interpretation of them. Similarly, in pulmonary impairment cases the Social Security Administration requires copies of the spirometric tracings.

How you can help in getting all the medical records

For most of your medical records, your Atlanta Social Security lawyer will be the one who will deal with the hospital or doctor to obtain your records. However, you have a very important role in the beginning of that process because the quality of your lawyer’s search for records will only be as good as the initial information that you provide.

Your job is to come up with a thorough and accurate list of all your doctors and other medical providers so that your Atlanta Social Security lawyer starts with the right sources. You want to identify all doctors, hospitals, and other medical providers, as well as the dates and the nature of the treatment that you received.

Hospital records

Your Atlanta Social Security lawyer will have to decide what hospital records to order. Often, hospital records concerning an acute illness are less important than the records generated by your doctor or therapist after you has stabilized.

On the other hand, if you have been hospitalized so often that the frequency of hospitalization is part of the theory of your case, then your lawyer may want copies of all the discharge summaries and a list of all admissions.

If you have been to a Veteran’s Hospital then you may have Veterans Administration rating exam reports and Veterans Administration disability ratings. However, those reports and ratings are generally not part of the hospital records, so your attorney will have to request them separately from the Veterans Administration Regional Office.

“Acceptable” medical sources and “other” medical sources

The Social Security Administration recognizes the following medical providers as “acceptable” medical sources:

  • Physicians.
  • Osteopaths.
  • Podiatrists.
  • Optometrists.
  • Psychologists.

Your attorney will want to obtain all records from these sources, and make sure that the records include handwritten notes and test results.

The following medical providers are considered “other” medical sources by the Social Security Administration:

  • Chiropractors.
  • Physical therapists.
  • Occupational therapists.

“Other” medical sources are not entitled to the same weight as “acceptable” medical sources. However, their records and notes of treatment can still be very important for your case.

Pharmacies and insurance records

Your pharmacy records may be particularly important if your compliance with prescribed medical treatment is at issue, such as in seizure cases

Unlike most other medical records, where it is easier for your attorney to get the records, it is often easier for you to obtain these records directly from the pharmacist. Pharmacies are used to preparing such printouts for their customers. When an attorney makes a request to a pharmacy, the request may be routed through the home office, thus delaying response.

If you have been privately insured, a long-term disability carrier may well have an extensive collection of medical records that will provide insight into your disability.

Get help from an Atlanta Social Security lawyer to make sure that you present all the evidence with your disability claim

Our Atlanta Social Security law firm can help you present the best possible case to the Social Security Administration by working with your doctors and other medical providers to be sure that we have all of your relevant medical information in your file.

If you are not already represented by an Atlanta Social Security disability attorney and want our evaluation of your case, give us a brief description of your claim using the form to the right or contact us at:

Charles Martin & Joseph Jones
Atlanta Georgia Social Security disability attorneys

Phone: 404-373-3116
Fax: 404-373-4110

123 N. McDonough St.
Decatur, Georgia 30030