Getting your records is great! Reading your records is great! Checking your records is great! Correcting your records is great!
If you are able, you want to do any and all of these things.
Whatever you do, never ever assume your lawyer is collecting all your records. Ask your lawyer for copies of everything they have collected so you can check for yourself.
If your lawyer will not give you copies, this may mean they have not collected any of your records. Some lawyers wait a year after you first apply before they begin collecting your records! Some wait two years! Some wait until a few months before your hearing!
Also, please do not assume Social Security is collecting all your records. You can call the person at Social Security who is handling your case and ask them exactly which records they do and don’t have. If you are appealing, you can call your local office and request a copy of your case file on CD so you can see for yourself exactly what is and is not there.
There are three ways you can collect your records: Through your lawyer, through Social Security, or Do-it-yourself.
When you request your records, you will be asked to pay for them. Here’s a tip: If you are not being asked to pay this is not good! They probably are not giving you your full records with all treatment notes.
Getting Psyche Records
Some mental health doctors will tell you they will not give you your records. If you run into this problem, you still have some options:
Please do not read your records online and do not read anything that says “visit summary.” You need your full records with treatment notes.
Reading Your Records
Reading your records is one of the most important things you can do to help your disability case. It is literally the only way you can know for sure what your doctor is writing.
Tips from Amaryllis
“I gathered all my records and had every record sent to my assigned worker at Social Security. I got not only the radiology reports but all of the images, x-rays, MRIs, and CTs on four disks.
“In addition to all of the records that I personally submitted, I also had the hospital systems send the complete record an all images and test results. Surgical notes, in particular, seemed to be left out of the record the hospital sends so make sure to ask for them.
“If you gather and send all of your own medical records to social security, you will usually find higher success on the first try and a faster response.
“Social Security will also request your medical records, but let’s be real, they are slow and suck at it and do not always get them all. Gather and send all your medical records yourself.”
“Every single time I had a medication change, no matter how small, I had the pharmacy print it out and faxed it over. Every time I got a consult with a new doctor or any appointment with primary care, the records were sent.
“Each time anything got sent to Social Security, I called and emailed my worker immediately to make sure she got it all.”
Amaryllis is a former Social Worker who became disabled herself. Read her story here: