pHandPenPaper_Depositphotos_9491294_mMedical evidence requirements in SSD claims

Medical records play a decisive role in Illinois Social Security Disability claims. Unfortunately, some medical evidence may not reflect the debilitating nature of a condition. Many SSD applicants may wonder if they can exclude this evidence from their claims. Technically, applicants may choose which records they submit to the SSA. However, as Social Security lawyers in Chicago can explain, the intentional omission of evidence can have negative consequences.

Current and proposed policies

SSD claimants are expected to submit relevant medical evidence with their applications. Currently, the Social Security Administration does not explicitly require applicants to submit every available record. However, the SSA has proposed establishing such a requirement.

This proposal stems from concerns that some claimants withhold unfavorable evidence to reduce the risk of SSD claim denial. According to The Wall Street Journal, the new rule would make every applicant provide all known medical evidence when making claims. This responsibility would rest with claimants, rather than legal representatives, to eliminate issues with attorney-client privilege.

Even under the current rules, SSD applicants usually benefit from submitting all available evidence. This can prevent the claim processing delays that occur when the SSA must secure additional medical evidence to support a claim decision. Providing full medical evidence can also help applicants maintain credibility, which is often crucial in SSD claims.

Benefits of full disclosure

SSD applicants may seem questionable if they give the appearance of withholding evidence or providing misleading information. Claim approval is less likely when applicants don’t appear credible, as most Social Security lawyers in Chicago understand. Additionally, if the SSA approves a claim based on incomplete information, benefit loss may occur in the future.

If claimants don’t submit unfavorable medical records, the SSA may obtain those records, or similar information, through various means. These include:

  • Directly securing the evidence. The SSA may request medical records from treating physicians and facilities.
  • Ordering a consultative medical examination. During this examination, an independent physician performs objective tests and assessments to secure relevant evidence.
  • Reviewing prior decisions and records. After benefits are awarded, the SSA may compare current and past medical records to determine whether the decision was in error.

Instead of risking losing credibility, applicants should consider other means of addressing apparently unfavorable evidence. Applicants can record regular journal entries to show that their conditions are generally debilitating. Applicants can also document their functional limitations through doctors’ statements and descriptions from third parties.

If medical records don’t fully support an applicant’s disability claim, the applicant may benefit from seeking legal assistance. Social Security lawyers in Chicago may be able to assist a person in using other approaches to establish the disabling nature of the condition.