If you are applying for disability, Social Security will collect your medical records for you. Or your lawyer will collect your medical records for you.
It won’t cost you a penny right now and you won’t have to lift a finger. Sounds great, right?
Not so much. If you leave your records to Social Security, there is a decent chance they will not collect everything and they will not tell you that things are missing. If you leave it to your lawyer, you may have better luck, but I’ve still met plenty of people with lawyers who arrived at their hearings and discovered missing records!
If you are able to collect your records yourself, this is the best. If you are not well enough to do this, that is OK too. If someone in this world loves you, now is a great time to ask for assistance.
How to Get Your Medical Records
📍To start out, it can help to make a list of any hospital or doctor you have been to since you became disabled, plus any earlier records that you feel are important or helpful for your case. Ideally, include all emergency room visits, physical or occupational therapists, vocational rehabilitation, clinics, and any agencies where you received services or treatment.
📍If you have been in a homecare program or any other programs where you receive services related to your disability or health, make sure to request these files as well. They may be very helpful.
📍Next up, call or write the office and request a copy of the records you need. The doctor’s office will probably have a release form for you to fill out and sign.
📍Sometimes getting your records is easy as pie. Other times, not so much. Here’s some ideas if you run into troubles:
Sleepy Girl Super Secret Record Tricks
📍Records can be expensive. Here’s some tips on How to Get Your Medical Records without Paying an Arm and a Leg
📍For mental health, it gets a bit trickier! Here’s some ideas for what to do if you are having trouble getting psych records
📍It is very important to get complete records with treatment notes. The records you see online or the paper they hand you after an office visit are usually not complete records. Please make sure there are not Secret Medical Records they had not seen.
📍If your doctor is no longer in practice, or for some reason, you can’t locate the doctor or office where you think your records should be, there are some steps you can take to locate your medical records.
📍Try to get everything you can that relates to your illness. You may be able to find good records from hospitals, emergency rooms, home care agencies, vocational rehabilitation, mental health centers, clinics, occupational therapy, jails and community corrections, and school records on disability accommodations. If you had disability-related problems at your last job, human resources records from your job can also help.
📍If you collected your records yourself, be sure to submit them to Social Security. Please do it the right way to avoid heartache later. How to Submit
📍Even if you submit your records, they can sometimes get lost (or put in someone else’s file!). Don’t forget to contact Social Security and check, check, and double check what is in your file.
Updated August 2017. Please comment below with stories, questions, input or ideas. Please let us know if any links on this page stop working. 📍