Medical records and the SSD benefits process

| Jan 15, 2020 | social security disability

Medical records can be an important part of any Indiana resident’s claim for Social Security Disability benefits. After all, to be approved for SSD benefits, people must show that they suffer from a disabling condition that prevents them from working in their last job or any other gainful employment. However, many people who both need and deserve disability benefits face challenges during the process. The vast majority of applicants receive a denial at the first stage of their application, even if they are later approved at a disability hearing or another level of the process.

One of the challenges people face in applying for Social Security Disability benefits may relate to the nature of medical records themselves. Most medical records are written in a way that emphasizes symptoms, diagnoses and treatments rather than functional limitations that interfere with employment. They may provide clear evidence that a person suffers from a particular disabling condition but little information on how that diagnosis reflects on their ability to engage in employment. For example, medical records may include test results, but they may not indicate how long a person could sit, stand or walk.

The lack of information in medical records may lead SSD benefits applicants to seek a letter from their doctor that describes their functional limitations in more detail, often called a medical source statement. These letters may be very important in winning a claim for disability benefits, but they are rarely considered at any point before the disability hearing level. Initial disability examiners generally do not reach out to applicants’ doctors for more detailed information.

When people who are disabled face an initial benefits denial, they might be confused or angry. Indianapolis, Indiana, attorneys handling Social Security Disability may help people to develop the evidence they need to pursue a successful disability hearing on appeal.