The Three Things That Social Security Disability Examiners Do When Reviewing Your Medical Records
When you apply for Social Security Disability benefits you’ll be asked to provide a list of your medical providers so that the SSA can gather your medical records. Once your records have been received, the Social Security examiner will review the records and make a decision whether you’re entitled to disability benefits. Your medical records can make or break your initial application.
Your medical records must show not only the severity of your symptoms but how your symptoms impact your ability to function on a daily basis.
The 5 Steps To Your Social Security Benefits
To be eligible for Social Security Disability benefits you must meet the 5 Step Sequential Evaluation which requires:
- That you be out of work for a year or have a medical condition that will result in you being out of work for a year or death,
- Have a severe impairment,
- Meet a medical listing in SSA’s listing of impairments (bluebook) or, alternatively
- Unable to return to your past relevant work because of your functional capacity and
- Be unable to do other work in the national economy in view of your age, education, transferable skills and restrictions, and limitations.
Now that you understand the 5 Step Sequential evaluation let’s talk about what the Social Security Disability claims examiner will do with your medical records when applying the 5 Step Sequential Evaluation.
What Does The Social Security Disability Claims Examiner Do With Your Medical Records?
The claims examiner will first, look to the SSA Listing of Impairments book which lists the medical evidence you need to prove your medical condition meets a listing. It’s very difficult to meet a listing because doctors did not go to medical school to learn how to write a report that documents every element of a Social Security Debility listing. In fact, it’s very rare for a Social Security Disability applicant to meet a listing at Step 3 and, as a result, most Social Security claims decisions are made at 4 and 5.
What Happens At Step 4?
At Step 4 the claims examiner decided whether or not you have the functional capacity to perform you past work. It’s crucial that you explain in your initial application all of the physical and cognitive requirements of your job. When the disability claims examiner reviews the medical records, they’re attempting to determine whether you have the functional capacity to perform that past work. The claims examiner isn’t going to make that decision alone and will consult with a Social Security Disability physician if your medical records aren’t clear.
At Cavey Law, we submit when possible, the initial application with medical records and Residual Functional Capacity form completed by the treating physician that clearly establishes our client’s functional capacity.
That’s key because Social Security physicians will typically opine that the applicant is capable of doing light-sedentary work which can make it difficult, if not impossible to meet Steps 4 and 5. Examiners will typically give more weight to the opinions of a Social Security physician over the findings of the claimant’s physician unless the evidence is clear. That’s why Residual Functional Capacity forms can make all the difference.
What Happens At Step 5?
If the Social Security Disability examiner determines that you can’t return to your relevant past work at Step 4, the examiner must then determine whether you are capable of doing other work in the national economy. Once again, if your medical records aren’t clear and the Social Security physician opines that you are capable of doing light-sedentary work, your claim will most likely be denied, particularly if you are under age 60.
The more medical evidence that supports your disability the better your chances are of getting benefits. That’s just one reason why you need an experienced Social Security Disability attorney who can help obtain your medical records and Residual Functional Capacity forms.
Many times a claims denial results because:
- a claimant hasn’t provided their complete records to the SSA,
- their records don’t specifically address the symptoms and the impact they have on their ability to function, and
- the applicant hasn’t submitted a Residual Functional Capacity form.
What You Need To Do To Get Your Social Security Disability Benefits
It’s time for you to talk with Social Security Disability attorney Nancy Cavey who can help you get the disability benefits you deserve at the initial application. If you claim was denied, don’t’ give up!
You’ll have 60 days in which to appeal and hiring Ms. Cavey can make all the difference in getting your disability benefits. Call today at 727-894-3188 for your complimentary consultation.