Obtaining Medical Records in a Social Security Claim

A Social Security Disability determination is highly dependent upon medical records. The examiner or Administrative Law Judge needs to find medical evidence of a disability. The allegation of an inability to work is not enough. It is therefore very important that the Social Security Disability applicant work closely with their doctors and other treaters to document, diagnose, and treat your condition(s).

Recent changes in the law have made it more difficult to obtain medical records. In many cases, medical offices will contract with an outside copy service to handle requests for records. These services are in business to make money, and therefore attempt to charge as much as possible for your medical records.

The law limits the amount medical record copy services can charge a patient for their own records. However, when an attorney requests records on behalf of a patient, charges are much higher. Even when a patient makes a request on their own, but asks that the records be sent to their attorney, the copy services are allowed to charge excessively. This process makes it difficult for both the Social Security applicant and their attorney.

In Michigan, we have a special law. That law allows indigent patients, meaning those patients who are receiving certain forms of public assistance, to obtain medical records free of charge. The law even allows a patient’s representative, including attorneys, to obtain those records free of charge. Therefore, the process of obtaining medical records is much easier for the patient/client and the attorney when the client has a Bridge Card.

The process is more difficult for those who do not have a Bridge Card. At Tanis Schultz, we believe our clients who are going through a difficult time should not be burdened with excessive medical records fees, nor should you be burdened with the sometimes daunting task of obtaining your medical records on your own. Tanis Schultz attorneys will work with our disability and other clients to obtain medical records at a reduced cost, if possible, and will keep the process as hassle-free as possible. Communication and cooperation are key to building your claim.

If you are considering an application for Social Security Disability, or if you just have questions about whether disability is an option in your situation, contact the experienced disability attorneys at Tanis Schultz.

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