If you just filed for benefits, you may be wondering if there is anything you can do to improve your chances of being approved?
Yes! Get your medical records!
Why should I get my own records? Social Security is supposed to get my records themselves — and that does not cost me anything. Why should I spend my money to get the records myself?
Unfortunately, you probably won’t know if Social Security actually got your records until they make their decision.
While you may have given Social Security the names and addresses of your doctors, AND signed authorizations allowing your doctors to release information to Social Security, there is no guarantee that your records will actually get into your file!
Here are some possible scenarios:
1. If your treatment was more than 12 months prior to your date of application, Social Security may not even request those older records.
In my experience, Social Security tries to get the most relevant records. Which records are the most relevant? The most recent records.
So, records of that car wreck five years ago, or that 72 hour hold for suicidal ideation three years ago, or the records from the neurologist who diagnosed your fibromyalgia when you were 20, Social Security may not even try to get those records.
2. Social Security just requests the records, it is up to the doctor’s office to actually provide them.
If the request gets lost in the mail, or if your doctor’s office misplaces the request, or ignores the request, Social Security won’t get your records.
Social Security may make repeated requests for records, or it may make one attempt and leave it at that. If the doctor’s office does not provide the records (or provides incomplete records), Social Security is not going to try too hard to get them. From their perspective, there are just too many cases to handle to try to get hard-to-find medical record.
So, the only way to make sure Social Security gets all your records, is to get them yourself.