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How To Get Medical Records For Your Disability Claim

Medical evidence is the most important part of a long-term disability insurance claim or a Social Security Disability claim. The medical records provide evidentiary proof of the claimant’s disability. However, obtaining these records can be a daunting task, especially if you’re seeing multiple doctors and you’re worried about the cost. In this article, we will explain how to get medical records for disability without breaking the bank using the following methods:

  • HIPAA medical record requests,
  • HITECH medical record requests, and
  • Using online patient portals.

How to Get Medical Records for Disability Claims

HIPAA Medical Record Requests

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is a federal law that gives patients the right to obtain copies of their medical records from their healthcare providers.

To make a HIPAA medical record request, you need to submit a written request to your doctor’s office. The request should include:

  • Your full name,
  • Date of birth,
  • Contact information,
  • A description of the records you want, and
  • The date range you are interested in.

Under HIPAA, healthcare providers have up to 30 days to respond to your request. They can charge you a reasonable fee for copying and mailing the records. However, the fee cannot be greater than the cost of labor and supplies necessary to fulfill your request. If you’re facing financial hardship, you can request a waiver or reduction of the fee.

HITECH Medical Record Requests

The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act of 2009 provides patients with additional rights to access and control their electronic health information. If your doctor uses electronic health records (EHRs), you can make a HITECH medical record request to get electronic records.

A HITECH request is like a HIPAA request. You will need to submit a written request to your doctor’s office. However, you’ll need to specify that you want the records in an electronic format.

Your doctor must provide you with copies of your records within 30 days of your request. They also cannot charge you more than a reasonable cost-based fee.

Using Online Patient Portals

Many healthcare providers now offer patient portals to access a copy of your health information. These are secure online platforms that allow you to access your medical records and communicate with your healthcare providers. Patient portals are typically free to use. They are a convenient way to obtain your medical records without formally requesting your medical records or paying a fee.

To use a patient portal, you’ll need to register for an account with your healthcare provider. Once you’re logged in, you can view your medical records, including test results, medication lists, and appointment history. You can also request prescription refills, send messages to your healthcare provider, and schedule appointments.

Obtaining your medical records is an important step in supporting your disability claim. However, it does not have to be expensive or take a toll on your mental health. With a HIPAA or HITECH medical record request you can get your records without breaking the bank. You can also use an online patient portal, which is typically free.

Won’t the SSA or the Insurance Company Request My Records?

In a disability claim, the primary responsibility for obtaining medical records falls on the claimant. You’re expected to gather all relevant documents to support your case. However, your lawyer or representative can assist in this process. They’ll guide you on which records to collect and may even request them on your behalf. Ultimately, you must ensure that all necessary medical evidence is submitted to strengthen your claim.

The Burden of Proof in Long-Term Disability Claims

When filing a long-term disability claim, the burden of proof lies with the claimant. You need to show that you can’t perform your job duties due to a disabling condition. Your insurance company will ask for medical records, doctor’s notes, and sometimes even statements from your employer. It’s crucial to provide clear, detailed documentation of your medical condition and how it affects your ability to work. If you can’t meet this burden of proof, your claim may be denied. So, gathering strong evidence and being thorough is key to getting the benefits you need.

Can Social Security Get My Medical Records?

In the initial application for Social Security disability benefits the disabled applicant identifies all of his or her medical providers to the Social Security Administration (SSA) so the Social Security claims handler can obtain the medical records and evaluate the claim.  However, in our experience, these are the limitations in the way Social Security evaluates the medical records:

  • Social Security only requests the records once. If the medical provider does not provide the records, Social Security does not follow up with the provider and re-request the records. The records simply do not become part of the claim. This means important records are not part of the evaluation, even if the medical provider was extremely backlogged or simply misplaced the request.
  • Social Security does not request any records after the initial claim. It is up to the claimant to: (1) obtain and submit any missing records; and (2) update his or her own medical records at each stage of the appeal process.

Get Professional Help for Your Disability Claim

If you are filing for disability benefits, you may need to obtain copies of your medical records to support your disability claim. Remember to be patient and persistent in your efforts to obtain your records, and don’t hesitate to seek help from an experienced disability law firm. At Ortiz Law Firm, we represent Social Security Disability and long-term disability claimants nationwide. Call us at (888) 321-8131 or contact us online to schedule a free case evaluation today.