How often should you update the Social Security Administration on the status of your medical file?
The answer to the question is NOT IN BETWEEN APPEALS – unless you have a good reason, like a serious new condition that you’ve been diagnosed with, or a major accident or something like that.
Let’s talk about why that is.
The SSA has to go through a 4 step process with medical records.
Step 1, you have to tell them
Step 2, they have to go out and order the medical records. Sometimes the SSA can get the records really quick, within a few weeks, sometimes it’ll take a few months for the medical records to come in.
Step 3 is they have to review the medical records.
Step 4 is they finally have to make a decision.
Whenever you send in new information to the SSA about, “Hey, I had a new appointment with my orthopedic doctor”, or “Hey, I had an x ray done”. It starts this whole wheel again where, “Okay, we got the information, and now we have to order it, evaluate it and make a decision.” And if you repeatedly tell the SSA about new doctor’s appointments or visits that can cause the SSA to reset that wheel every time. And particularly with the ordering of medical records, it can cause your claim to be delayed by months and months iIf the SSA is continually having to reorder new medical records for your case.
Whenever you appeal your denial for your disability case, the SSA is going to ask for what all medical care providers have you seen since you last applied, then it’s a GREAT TIME to let them know about any new medical treatment that you’ve had, because they’re starting the four step process over again.
Now, if you have like a major, something happened, you got diagnosed with cancer, had stroke, had a heart attack, you’re involved in a major car accident, something along those lines, then YES , I would let the SSA know about those updated medical records because it makes a big deal in your case. But if it’s just a general decline in your condition, you’re not feeling as well as you were, I would save that for the next appeal, because very likely going to get denied anyways.
And given how long it takes for claims to get decided, adding months and months on to a claim just takes long enough as it is. You don’t need to make this process last any longer. Your primary goal is to get in front of a judge for a disability hearing. That process already takes a year and a half to two years. So you don’t want to push that any further down than you have to. And I don’t think that medical updates to the SSA are really going to increase your chances of getting your claim granted at the initial and reconsideration level because so few cases already get granted at those levels. For the Initial level, 30% of cases get granted at the initial level. For the Reconsideration level it’s 12% of cases – those aren’t grant rates that I’m going to chase after when even the national average at the hearing level is 55%.
So generally my GOAL is to get to the hearing level as quickly as possible because it’s where your best chances are anyways.