Social Security better have access to your medical records, otherwise your disability claim will not be approved. Even with testimony for witnesses, former bosses, and family members your claim will not be approved unless supported by your medical records. Social Security does have the ability to get a copy of your records because you gave them that permission to get them when you applied.
Claimants authorize medical providers to disclose records to Social Security.
When you filled out your application in person or online, you will have signed a form, checked a box, or otherwise given Social Security the ability to go get your medical records. That form, the SSA 827, tells your doctors, hospitals you’ve visited, and specialists you’ve seen that they are allowed to turn over your full records. Without the form, HIPAA laws would prevent your medical providers from turning the records over - even to the government.
Social Security has access to other records.
The same Form 827 gives Social Security to confidential documents other than medical records. Most importantly for child Supplemental Security Income (SSI) applicants, Social Security has access to school records like grade reports, IEPs, and teacher reports.
They could also get employment records, workers’ compensation, and other similar records. However, just because it can get the records does not mean they will. It is important to work with your disability attorney to get records and submit them to Social Security.
Getting records is primarily the responsibility of you and your attorney.
While you can expect Social Security to obtain some of your medical records, you should not rely on them. The responsibility for “developing the record” and proving your case is up to you. Ultimately, if medical records are left out of your case file, you could lose your case.
Therefore, it is important that you work with your disability attorney to identify all of your medical providers. Moreover, while your case is pending, you need to let your attorney know when you receive new medical treatment so those new records can be obtained and added to your file.
With some qualifications, new medical records can continue to be added to your file even after your hearing. This is especially true for any treatment you receive after the hearing. However, if your claim is denied and you have to appeal to a federal court about the decision, you generally can no longer submit records - new or old.
Need help getting your medical records?
- For in-depth information on your right to access your own medical records, check out this guidance from the Department of Health and Human Services;
- If you are working without an attorney you can submit a request in writing to your medical provider. Be sure to include your name, date of birth, social security number, and the time frame of records you are requesting. Note that they may charge you for the records;
- Use Disability Alabama’s disability calculator for an estimate of your benefit. While you do not need any special information to complete the calculation you may want to take a moment to think about your average yearly income and current household income before using the disability calculator; and
- If you are in Alabama, contact Disability Alabama about how we might be able to help with your SSDI or SSI claim.