At a Hearing, Who Is Responsible for Obtaining Medical Record Evidence?

by Jun 14, 2018Appeals

Home » Blog » Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) » At a Hearing, Who Is Responsible for Obtaining Medical Record Evidence?

You are responsible for obtaining medical record evidence for your administrative law judge (ALJ) hearing. If you hire a lawyer to represent you at the hearing, then your lawyer is the one responsible for gathering this evidence. Because your medical evidence forms the backbone of your claim, it is essential to be thorough and meticulous when collecting and assembling it.

A Social Security disability lawyer can help with obtaining the evidence you need to present a strong case at your ALJ hearing. An attorney also can argue your case for you at the hearing, giving you a better chance of winning. To sit down with a disability lawyer to discuss your case for free, contact the Disability Advantage Group, today. We offer a free disability claim evaluation. To get started, call our office at 865-566-0800.

Your Responsibility to Obtain Evidence for Your Disability Hearing

During the first two steps of the application process—the initial application and the request for reconsideration—the disability examiner (DE) assigned to review your claim is responsible for gathering all the evidence they need, including medical records, to make a decision.

While at these stages you can submit additional evidence to supplement what the DE gathers, you have no requirement to collect your primary medical records and other needed information to process your claim.

This process changes once you get to the hearing level. At this stage, the government no longer has the responsibility to obtain your medical records or even to help you gather them—you are on your own.

Fortunately, a Social Security disability lawyer not only can help you retrieve the evidence you need quickly and efficiently but can assist you with preparing and assembling it to give your claim the maximum impact at the hearing.

Additional Evidence You Are Responsible for Obtaining

It is up to you what evidence you choose to present at your administrative law judge hearing. But given that medical records form the backbone of a successful claim, and that ALJs base their decisions mainly on medical evidence, you want yours to be thorough and convincing.

You should be sure to include the following evidence within your claim:

  • Medical records
  • Lab test results
  • Statements from physicians and medical specialists
  • Schedule of prescription medication

Every case is unique, and you might have other forms of medical evidence beyond the ones listed above that could bolster your claim. That is yet another reason why it is so critical to have a skilled disability attorney working with you before and at your hearing. Based on the specifics of your case and your attorney’s prior knowledge and experience, your attorney can let you know what evidence you need.

How to Gather Medical Record Evidence for Your ALJ Hearing

No centralized repository holds all of your different medical records. You will have to gather each one from its source—hospitals where you have had surgery or procedures, labs where you have had tests run, doctors you have seen, specialists, pharmacists, and so on. Each of these facilities or professionals should have a recordkeeping system allowing for easy access to your files.

A few helpful hints to make the evidence-gathering process easier:

  • Keep up with phone numbers and addresses for each place you receive medical care, treatment, or testing.
  • Grab a business card from each of these places and file these cards together, so you have them all in one location.
  • Keep a log of your hospitalizations, doctor visits, therapy sessions, and other medical care.
  • Hand all this information over to your attorney immediately upon hiring him or her.

It Is Not Social Security’s Job to Help You Gather Evidence for Your Hearing

If you rely on Social Security to gather your medical record evidence, you will arrive at your hearing woefully unprepared to present your case, and you will lack the vital documentation you need to lend substance to your claims.

By hiring a disability attorney, you can take the evidence-gathering burden off your shoulders and hand it off to someone with the knowledge and experience to do the process the right way.

Free Social Security Disability Lawyer Consultations Available

The attorneys at the Disability Advantage Group, are ready to help you with your disability hearing. We can gather your evidence and make your case thorough and compelling. To schedule a free claim evaluation, call 865-566-0800 today.