A California resident who is unable to work may be eligible for Social Security Disability benefits. In order to get these benefits, applicants have to be able to prove they’re disabled and that the condition they have is expected to last at least 12 months. Examiners use medical records to determine whether applicants are eligible for benefits. Without current records, it may be more challenging to get a disability claim approved.

Anyone who applies for benefits but cannot provide information that could help the examiner obtain current medical records may be asked to have a consultative examination with a physician who is paid by the Social Security Administration. Because this examination is brief, the doctor may not be able to provide all of the information the examiner needs to approve the claim. An initial denial is not the end of the process. Anyone whose disability claim gets denied at this stage may appeal.

Some people who apply for Social Security Disability have not seen their doctors in more than a year. The examiner may deny their claim even if their older records confirm a disability. Before filing a claim or an appeal, applicants should visit their regular doctors. It’s important to maintain contact with all treating physicians while the claim is in process so the Social Security Administration has all the information necessary to make a decision.

Sometimes the Social Security Administration denies claims made by people who have legitimate disabilities. These claims are often denied due to lack of documentation. When this happens, an attorney who focuses on disability law may be able to help applicants navigate the appeals process so they can get complete reviews of their cases. An experienced attorney could help clients from the time they file a claim or step in after the appeals process starts.