In an ideal world, Social Security Disability (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Insurance (SSI) disability claims would be supported by medical records from the claimant’s treating physician. Generally, treating physicians are in a better position to document the onset date of the impairment, how it can be expected to progress over time, as well as any physical or mental limitations it places on the patient’s ability to work.
Medical records from hospitals and clinics are also valid forms of documentation, provided that the individual signing off on any reports from these treatment sources is considered to be “acceptable.” Social Security prefers the medical opinions of licensed MDs, DOs, psychologists and optometrists.
Disability examiners tend to pay closer attention to the opinion of long-time treatment sources than those that result from a short hospital stay or visit to the ER. The best medical records to support a disability claim are those from a physician with whom the patient has a longstanding relationship.
If you are filing for disability, be sure to include medical records from any place in which you have received medical treatment for your impairment. Medical records from your treating physician, if you have one, are best, but don’t leave out any medical records from past or present acceptable medical sources. If you have the actual medical records themselves, it is always a good idea to submit the records along with your application. At the very least, it is important to make sure you tell Social Security about all doctors and hospitals you have seen for your conditions.
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