Any application or claim for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) typically involves the utilization of medical records. Of course, a claimant’s medical records are an important factor in determining eligibility for disability benefits. An applicant must prove that he or she is disabled. There are times during the application process when a doctor is uncooperative, and the involvement of a disability attorney may be necessary.
In most cases, doctors are cooperative when their patients need assistance, amenable to making available medical records such as test results and notes taken during office visits, as well as agreeable to completing paperwork necessary to establish a patient’s disability. Minimally, it is hoped that a doctor will provide access to medical records. However, some doctors, for a multitude of reasons, are occasionally unwilling to do even this, which adds stress to an already stressful application process. If the physician is controlled by a corporate office, this complicates things. Many times records requests are services by the corporation, not the individual doctor.
Ideally, an individual should discuss with his or her doctor any plans to file for disability benefits prior to the filing of the claim. If not at this time, this discussion should occur soon thereafter during the initial application process. A disability claimant should be able to gauge by this conversation whether or not a physician will be cooperative during the application process. Most physicians provide medical records…. It is securing special reports that create most of the issues. Medical assessments from treating sources are quite valuable. However, they take up a physician’s time, which is valuable….
What often complicates matters is a doctor’s lack of understanding what the criteria is for determining a claim for disability benefits. Often this ignorance causes an uneasiness which may make them reluctant to cooperate. A simple statement that the “patient is disabled” is helpful but not really what we need in these cases. Restrictions that flow naturally from the medical proof are the most helpful. To the extent that the restrictions are based on objective proof, they become much more meaningful. Hopefully, having a patient file a disability claim is an opportunity for a claimant’s treating physician to become familiar with such criteria for future cases.