One challenge many Social Security Disability applicants face is the egregious cost of medical records. The medical records departments of hospitals, doctor’s offices, clinics, and specialty locations are both profiteering and blatantly disregarding the rules for medical record costs and timeframes. The main issue is in the balance of power between the applicant and the records department. The applicant of Social Security Disability benefits or Supplemental Security Income requires medical records to present their claim to an Administrative Law Judge. No Judge can grant a favorable decision, regardless of how disabled an applicant is without proper medical records documentation. A Judge will need supporting medical evidence to verify the conditions and determine the limitations those conditions place on the applicant’s functional capacity.

The state of Maryland has a new law that has passed in the House that will possibly eliminate the costs associated with medical records request. House Bill 849 has passed in Maryland, which will prohibit medical providers from charging fees for medical records “that will be used for the purpose of filing a claim regarding or appealing a denial of Social Security Disability Income or Social Security Benefits”. This bill will take effect on October 1, 2021. This bill is absolutely necessary for claimants to be able to secure their records to being a successful claim for disability benefits. Most claimants who are applying for disability benefits have been out of work and suffering from mounting debt from serious medical conditions. Most can’t afford the cost of medical records, which frequently cost upwards of one thousand dollars for a full case’s medical records.

Currently, this rule only applies in the state of Maryland. That doesn’t mean it’s not coming soon to your state. Legislatures are recognizing that many of the applicants for disability cannot afford to pay for medical records and are proposing similar bills to exempt medical records fees for disability applicants. In the meantime, you should be asking for your providers medical records appointment by appointment. We suggest that you scan or receive a digital copy as soon as available. Additionally, many medical providers now have online patient portals which hold many of your medical records. Frequently, this will include lab results, appointment notes, medications, and sometimes even imaging. Unfortunately, these types of portals do not include things like mental health provider notes. If also doesn’t include functional capacity studies, or physical therapy records. These records are very useful for a disability benefit claim, so a patient portal is not a magic workaround to requesting proper medical records.

When starting a Social Security Disability Application, it is important to include all of the locations you have been treated in the relevant time period. You should be as detailed as possible. Doctors addresses, phone numbers, fax numbers, your treatment dates are all helpful in having the Social Security Administration request your records for you to make a determination on your case. Since the social Security Administration will pay for your records in the initial application, the more thorough you are with that information, the more likely you will have a favorable decision. If you need help with your appeal of a denial, please give us a call at (708) 529-7794 as soon as possible. We can help you get the Disability Benefits you deserve.

Jonathan Cole

(708) 529-7794