When a person submits an application for Social Security disability benefits, an examiner relies on an applicant’s medical records to make a decision. If an individual has not sought treatment prior to submitting an application, there are many ways to do so. California residents who don’t have money to see a doctor may opt to go to a free clinic or a nearby emergency room for treatment.

Alternatively, an individual could agree to attend a consultative examination. These are usually required if there are no medical records or recent records for an examiner to base a decision on. It is important to note that these are brief examinations that generally don’t result in an application being approved.

However, applications may be approved if an individual claims to have a mental rather than physical impairment. This is because testing for mental impairments tends to be more objective than tests for physical conditions. Furthermore, the physician examining someone claiming a physical impairment may not specialize in the type of condition that an applicant has. For instance, someone who has a back issue may be seen by an allergist during a consultative examination. Therefore, those who are considering filing an application for benefits will ideally see a doctor prior to doing so.

Individuals who are applying for Social Security benefits may fare better if they have a legal representative to help with their cases. An attorney may be able to gather medical records or other evidence of a person’s impairment. They may also take steps to ensure that an appeal is filed in a timely manner. Doing so could improve an applicant’s chances of obtaining the benefits that they may need.