Your medical history is vital to proving eligibility for Social Security disability insurance (SSDI) benefits. Unless you have a life-threatening condition that qualifies you for compassionate allowance consideration, you must provide very detailed medical documentation to prove to the Social Security Administration (SSA) that your symptoms meet SSA’s definition of a disability.
The Medical Basics
Your disability application must include:
- Names, addresses and phone numbers of all the doctors you have seen.
- Names, addresses and phone numbers for all hospitals, clinics or treating sources you have been to.
- What treatments you have had and when.
- All medical tests you have had and when.
- The names and dosages of all prescribed medications you take and why.
The Doctor-Patient Connection
SSA also requires detailed reports from your doctors. How they describe your condition weighs heavily on SSA’s decision in determining if you are unable to work at any job because of your medical condition. You will want to make certain that the reports they provide properly supports your claim. Believe it or not, what you say, or don’t say, to your doctors about how you feel could harm your case.
Here’s an example:
- Your doctor tells you to minimize physical activities that could worsen your condition.
- You follow orders and tell your doctor at your next visit that you are feeling much better.
- Your doctor writes what you have said as a note in your medical file.
- Your doctor is contacted by SSA to provide a medical report about you for your disability case.
- The doctor includes all notations made in your file about your condition in the report.
- SSA interprets the one remark you made about feeling better as meaning that you have improved and are able to work.
You want to be sure that you are open and honest about your symptoms with your doctor so that misinformation does not get included in your disability case. Read more advice from one of our Freedom Disability advocate leaders about how important your doctors are in supporting your case.
Be Sure Your Medical Information is Current
The process to getting approved for disability benefits can take many months. You must make sure that your medical information stays current. If anything changes about your condition be sure SSA has been notified and has received updated information from your doctors.
Tips to Remember When You Visit Your Doctor
Remind your doctor that you are applying for Social Security disability benefits at office visits.
- Avoid minimizing your symptoms or exaggerating about your symptoms to your doctor.
- Be factual about how you describe your symptoms to your doctor.
- Don’t be concerned about discussing embarrassing details about your symptoms. Your doctor needs to understand how your life is affected by your condition.
- Ask if you can have access to your medical records.
- Be sure the doctor knows that SSA will be requesting your medical records.
- Ask the doctor to send your medical records to SSA as soon as possible after being contacted.
- Make notes about your condition between office visits to share with your doctor.
- If you go to a new doctor, be sure to explain how your condition impacts your daily activities.
Get Help with Freedom Disability
Gathering all the medical information necessary to support your disability case is not easy to handle on your own and it can be overwhelming. You can get expert help with Freedom Disability. Our advocates know what to look for to ensure that you have all the medical evidence necessary to prove your eligibility for disability benefits. Find out more about how to get started with Freedom Disability.