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How To Get Approved For Disability Benefits Without Medical Records

by Jamie Nichols

If you are suffering from a permanent disability but do not have medical records, you may feel you don't have a chance at being approved for disability benefits. You do have some options available. Listed below is an outline of the initial process and ways to boost your odds of being approved, even without medical records. 

How Medical Records are Used In a Disability Case

Aside from establishing proof of disability, past medical records can shed light on length of disability, as well as its progression and severity. Without medical records, you can prove these things, but it will require more legwork and the application process will probably be longer and more invasive. 

When you apply for SSDI with little to no medical proof for a disability, a consultative examination with a doctor will usually be scheduled. This short examination is used to determine whether you are disabled at this moment in time. The nature of the examination will depend on your disability. For example, if you're blind you will undergo an ophthalmologic exam. 

What You Can Expect If You're Approved 

If you're approved for SSDI benefits, you may not receive much in the way of back pay since, without medical records, there isn't evidence for length of disability. 

Unfortunately, health insurance in the form of Medicare won't be available to you until 24 months from the time of eligibility for services. This is not the day you became disabled, but usually the sixth month after your initial application date due to the five-month waiting period. Due to the length of the application process, however, you may not actually have to wait long from the time of your first benefits check to when Medicare kicks in. Speak with your SSDI caseworker for a more accurate timeline. 

What To Do If You're Denied

Without medical records, your odds for denial are much higher than average. If you've been denied, there are a few things you can do. 

1. Appeal - If you'd like to appeal the decision, you have 60 days from the decision date to do so. The chances of being approved through an appeal are very low, but if you're able to provide more information regarding your disability, you may win. Consider asking friends, family members, and even previous employers for letters that outline when they first noticed your disability and the effects it had on you. 

2. Reapply - If you've missed the 60 day deadline, consider reapplying. This takes more work and time, but if you're able to collect more information, you may have a better chance of being approved. 

Both of the options above can be frustrating and lengthy. If you aren't sure how to go about either process, speak with a disability attorney, such as Bruce K Billman. A lawyer can walk you through the process step-by-step and help you collect the right documents.