In order to win Social Security disability benefits, you need to prove that you are unable to work. Social Security often sends applicants for a consultative examination so an independent doctor can examine you and make a medical opinion of what a person can and cannot do.
Part of this examination includes reviewing your medical records. Or, at least it should. And that’s where the problem begins. San Francisco disability attorney Geri Kahn wrote about her experiences with providing records to Social Security:
Before filing a new initial claim I always order the records and then submit them directly to the Social Security field office immediately after I have filed the claim electronically. I recently was at an interview in one of the field offices in San Francisco and the claims representative told me that he could not accept the records I was submitting because he was only permitted to fax 15 pages to the state agency disability examiner.
Limiting the number of pages sent to the consultative examiner examiner to 15 pages is RIDICULOUS! That is barely a sliver of the amount of information in most cases. Beyond the number of pages, it is questionable that the most important records are being submitted. Records such as:
- Records establishing the diagnosis.
- Critical diagnostic test results (MRI, CT, EMG).
- Evaluations and opinions from specialists.
- Records from primary care physicians and specialists showing a longitudinal history of treatment and response.
- Surgical reports.
- Therapy intake, progress, and discharge notes.
- Hospital and ER records.
And that’s just to start! Limiting the amount of pages means that the examiner is going in almost blind; not because the records aren’t in Social Security’s possession, but simply because Social Security won’t send them!
Fortunately, most cases get a much better review with judges at the hearing level. If you are denied on your initial application, do not give up. Appeal!