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Social Security Administration wants all medical information

When someone applies for Social Security disability insurance benefits, it is important to put together a complete application or the applicant could find him- or herself joining the long wait to appeal an unfavorable decision. Many people turn to their disability lawyers for guidance on what information needs to be provided, but lawyers are also able to tell an applicant what is not relevant and what does not need to be included. It is not that these parts of someone's medical record show that the individual is lying or dishonest, just that it would have no bearing on his or her chances of getting disability benefits.

As the Social Security Administration is pushed to collect all "relevant" medical information, both favorable and unfavorable, some may be concerned about how that information will be used. The people who read these applications are not doctors, nor are the administrative law judges who hear appeals; if there is information that a doctor would recognize as irrelevant but either the reviewer or judge believes to indicate the applicant should not receive benefits, it could be quite problematic.

One solution is to work closely with a disability lawyer who can help craft the application in a way that will highlight all of the important information and will explain any parts of the medical record that are unclear. Moreover, if the application does appear before a judge, a lawyer can argue as to why certain pieces of disputed evidence should be ignored.

Disability benefits are incredibly important to many people in New Jersey. Being careful and complete with one's application is an important way to hopefully reduce the risk of being rejected.

Source: The Wall Street Journal, "Social Security Proposes to Tighten Rules on Disability Appeals," Damian Paletta, March 6, 2014

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