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Importance of Medical Records in SSDI Claims

Author: Jonathan Ginsberg

Published: 2010-05-25 : (Rev. 2013-06-08)

Synopsis and Key Points:

Critical factor involved in evaluating SSDI benefits is medical evidence presented on your behalf.

Main Digest

Critical factor involved in evaluating SSDI benefits is medical evidence presented on your behalf.

Medical evidence and why it is critical in SSDI Claims

Regardless of the medical condition that has caused your disability, one of the most critical factors involved in evaluating your case for SSDI benefits is the medical evidence that is presented on your behalf. Thorough medical evidence is used to back up your claim so you can well understand how important this documentation is. Additionally, medical records which are incomplete, lack details, or are vague can result in a denial of benefits if your case has gone to the appeals stage of the process.

One of the recommendations we always make where any disability claim is concerned is that you should provide the SSA with your medical evidence rather than waiting for them to request your medical records. This provides you with proof that you have filed the most up-to-date records. However, you will be able to review any documents that the SSA has regarding your case and when they are evaluating them.

The different types of medical evidence

Putting it simply, the more medical evidence you can present in your disability case, the greater the likelihood that your SSDI benefits will be approved. The following is a listing of what is considered to be good medical evidence.

Definitive diagnosis - the diagnosis of your medical or mental condition is the single most powerful piece of evidence you can provide. However in many cases, this won't be enough for the SSA judge to render their decision. Additionally, the definitive diagnosis is used in conjunction with the SSA's published listings.

Longitudinal treatment records - this is the evidence of the extensive and long-term medical treatment associated with your disability. Oftentimes, the more extensive your medical file is, the more favorable the judge's decision may be.

No references to "drug seeking behavior" - if substance abuse has been documented with your case, the SSA will deny your benefits if they feel that the substance has created your current medical condition.

No references to "malingering" - a malingerer usually who tries to obtain drugs or other types of medications without a basis for obtaining them. It could prejudice your case if the treating physician makes a notation that they are suspicious of malingering.

Compliance with medications and treatment - taking your prescribed medications and following your treatment regimen with regularity are critical to your case. If you have been remiss in maintaining that medication and treatment regimen, chances are the SSA judge will not view your case favorably.

Necessary physician forms - whenever possible, you want your physician to provide several documents such as a checklist, a letter signifying your limitations, and a narrative report that backs your case.

Jonathan Ginsberg has been practicing Social Security Disability law in the Atlanta, Georgia area for over 20 years. His website can be found at

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