Monday, March 01, 2010

Social Security Disability Mental Records

While listening to the People's Pharmacy on National Public Radio, I heard a physician state that medical records are the property of the medical provider, meaning the hospital, doctor, or clinic that provides the patient's treatment and generates records regarding this treatment. He went on to state that a patient can obtain copies of these records, at which point the copies become theirs.

It's an important distinction and what it basically means is that an individual's medical records are not really theirs...until, and unless, the medical treatment provider provides copies to the patient.

Hearing this reminded me of something. It is sometimes the case that a social security disability claimant will be sent to a mental examination of some type, either psychiatric or psychological in nature, and after the exam, will request a copy of the examination report.

Is the claimant entitled to receive a copy of this mental exam report? Not really. Disability examiners will make mental consultative examination reports available to a claimant's own doctor, who may then decide (or not decide) to release this information to their patient. But social security does not release this information directly to the claimant.

What would be the reason for this stance? As a former disability examiner, my guess would be the potentially sensitive nature of mental exam records, and a claimant's possible reaction to reading the information recorded by an examining psychiatrist or psychologist.

Return to the Social Security Disability SSI Benefits Blog

Other Posts

Why Does Social Security Disability Get Denied?
Social Security Disability and Short Term Disability Benefits
What do You do if You get Denied for Disability?
Social Security Disability, End Stage Renal Disease, and Going Back to Work
Filing For Disability On the Basis of Back Pain
Social Security Disability Appeal Deadlines
Why Does it Take Two Years to Get to a Disability Hearing?
Can SSI Disability Benefits be Garnished?
Will the Judge ask me any questions at my Disability Hearing?
Why would Social Security Send you to an Exam if You MEET a Listed Impairment?