Let’s say you are reviewing your Social Security exhibit file before your disability hearing and you discover that some of your doctor’s (or other records) are not there. I have mentioned before that it is not unusual for the medical records in a Social Security file to be a year or more out of date.
What can you do if the records are not complete?
You can ask Social Security to update the records. If you do not have a lawyer Social Security has a higher responsibility to make sure that your hearing is fair, which includes helping you obtain sufficient records to review your case.
Be clear with your request. If you are missing records from a particular doctor, say,
Dr. Smith’s records are missing. Dr. Smith treated me for my back problem from 2001 to 2009 and performed my back surgery. Can Social Security request these records.
If Social Security only has a partial set of records, tell them:
I see you have Dr. Jones records from April 4, 2006 through September 2008, but you are missing her records after September 2008. These records are important because …. Can Social Security request these records?
It is important to tell Social Security why the missing records are important. Social Security does not require every single piece of medical evidence to decide your case. If you want Social Security to get your records, help them understand why those records are critical.
There’s one more thing: even though Social Security has a greater obligation to unrepresented claimant’s (that’s you), it is not Social Security’s duty to obtain evidence. You have the duty to provide evidence to prove your disability.
So, don’t go demanding that Social Security get this or get that, or get all your records for the last 30 years. It won’t get you anywhere.
Be respectful, explain why the records are critical in a fair evaluation of your case and ask for help.