How Do I Get My Medical and Other Records from Social Security?

This article discusses when you should make a request evidence in your Social Security claim file and how to access your records at Social Security.

When Should You Request Your Social Security Disability Records?

When you apply for Social Security disability, you can submit medical records you have obtained to Social Security so that they can add them to your claim file. You also provide information about your medical history to Social Security so they can obtain other records from your medical sources covering at least 12 months prior to a certain date, such as your protective filing date. See, POMS DI 22505.001.A.3. Social Security may also develop your disability claim by obtaining other evidence, such as information about your functional ability or work history. A Social Security adjudicator has the flexibility to use his or her own judgement to decide whether to develop outside of the 12 month period. See, POMS DI 22505.006.A.2.

While Social Security will help obtain medical and other evidence, it is in your best interest to ensure that all of your medical evidence makes it into your case record. You have the right to access your medical and other records in your claim file so that you can review the sufficiency and relevancy of the evidence. You can submit other evidence to Social Security to add to your file. Having a complete picture of your medical history and functioning is important because Social Security adjudicators evaluate only the evidence that is in the record. If you do not have all of your medical and other evidence submitted, it could adversely affect the decision in your case.

If your initial application for Social Security disability benefits has been denied, then it is critically important for you to review your file and determine if there is any additional evidence not currently in the record that could support your claim. For example, you can ask your treating doctor to provide diagnostic testing or other evidence not currently in the claim file and then personally submit this evidence to Social Security to add to your file. Make sure to keep a copy of any records you have submitted in case they do not reach your file and you need to resubmit them.

Again, it is very important for you to review your file at the time you request a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). Social Security will have an exhibit list of each item in the file. You will need to know what evidence the prior Social Security adjudicator based their determination. If the determination was made on insufficient evidence, for example, you will have a chance to add critically important information to the record that may likely result in a favorable decision on appeal.

In addition to getting access to your records when you apply for Social Security, you may also want to get your records once you are approved for disability benefits, especially if, for example, your case is selected for a continuing disability review.

How to Request Your Records in Your Social Security Disability File

Requesting access to your medical and other records from Social Security is relatively easy. You can now access your claim documents securely in the Message Center of your my Social Security account. To enable this option, contact the Social Security office where your disability case is pending and request access to the documents in your claim file.

Other options to request your records are to call Social Security’s toll-free number at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778), or either call or write to your local office. You will need to provide Social Security with some personal information, such as your name, Social Security number, date of birth and the address to which you want the file mailed.

Once you have requested your records, they will be mailed to you on an encrypted CD. If you do not have access to a CD player, there may be a cost to get printed copies. To access the CD, your “password” is the first 4 letters of your first name (all lowercase), followed by a “#” and then the last 4 numbers of your Social Security Number. For example, John Smith, SSN 123-45-6789 would be, john#6789.

How Long Will It Take to Get My Records From Social Security?

The time it takes to get your records from Social Security depends on the method you chose in your request, Social Security processing time, and, if the records are being mailed, Postal Service delivery time. Usually, you can expect to receive the records within 2 to 4 weeks.

Contact a Disability Lawyer for Help

If you need help with your disability claim, contact a disability lawyer at Cardea Law Group, LLC for a free initial consultation. When we represent you, we will work with you to complete the application for disability and other necessary forms, as well as help you obtain the medical and non-medical evidence you need to prove your claim. We show our commitment by providing you with information, guidance, and support at every step.  Call us at 334-440-6261.