Recent Government Report on Social Security Disability Medical Exams and Records
Here's a video clip I've done, in which I discuss the highlights (at least from my vantage point) of GAO-09-149, a report to the House of Representatives Subcommittee on Social Security. If you listen to it, you'll probably notice that I use "um" quite a bit (my spouse was happy enough to point this out to me).
If you'd prefer to avoid the many ums contained therein, this is what the GAO report had to:
1. There are 51 DDS agencies in the country (DDS or disability determination services, is the agency that renders medical determinations on SSD and SSI claims at the disability application and disability reconsideration levels).
2. Of those 51 agencies, 27 percent of them (14 agencies) reported that they did not receive medical records that they requested from doctors and hospitals 20 percent of the time. That's amazing. One out of five times that an examiner sends off a request for medical records, they don't get anything back. That certainly doesn't help disability claimants. Of course, you can't compel medical practices to send in records, not at the lower levels, though records can be subpoened at the social security disability hearing level.
3. 80 percent of the DDS agencies (41 of them) routinely attempt to have a claimant's own medical doctor conduct the consultative medical examination. Yet...34 of these DDS agencies report that the claimant's own doctor almost never agrees to perform the social security CE exam. Astounding. Very helpful doctors, wouldn't you say?
4. Over half the DDS agencies have implemented policies to either quicken their payments for medical records, or increase the amount they pay for medical records (meaning they have determined that they don't pay enough for records and/or pay for records too slow). Makes sense. As I say in the video clip, doctors and hospitals don't typically provide records for free. Why should they? Paper, time spent copying, ink, envelopes, postage---it all costs money. Why should a doctor's office simply be forced to eat that cost, which, considering the number of medical records requests that are generated, I'm sure is considerable. However, this brings up another issue which I think I will cover later--the expectation that records requested on a medicaid only claim should be submitted for free, which is ridiculous (if you don't know what I'm referring to, look for a following post on this).
That's basically the gist of what I say in the video.
Return to the Social Security Disability SSI Benefits Blog
Denial on a disability application - What comes next?
Update on a Social Security Disability Application
SSI Application for Disability Benefits
Social Security Disability Applications