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Medical records and disability benefits

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People in California are not required to have a previous medical history to file for the disability benefits the Social Security Administration provides, including Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income. Still, disability examiners prefer that there are medical treatment records they can review to assist with their disability decisions. For individuals who have received some form of treatment for their disability, the medical notes from their personal doctor can provide valuable insight to disability examiners.

Important information, such as an applicant’s limitations or their reaction to different methods of treatment, is not typically included in hospital treatment notes. While hospital records are a valuable source of objective medical data, such as lab test results or imaging tests, and provide information about acute medical treatments, they do not provide sufficient information about who severe an applicant’s disabling condition is and about how the limitations can be enough to prevent the applicant from being able to work to support themselves.

In order to obtain SSI or SSDI disability benefits from the SSA, applicants have to verify that the degree of their impairment is such that it significantly and negatively impacts their ability to function normally, such as with performing daily activities. Past medical records may be able to provide the information that show how severely debilitating the medical impairment has been.

Disability examiners will search for unbiased medical proof in an applicant’s medical records regarding the alleged severe mental or physical impairment. Such evidence may include blood work, imaging results, breathing tests or counseling notes.

An attorney who practices SSD law may guide clients through the process of applying for the disability benefits or appealing denied claims. The attorney may advocate on behalf of clients during hearings with an administrative judge to verify a client’s disabling condition.