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Can you get SSDI when you don’t have many medical records?

If you’ve developed a condition that keeps you from working, you may be encouraged by your friends, families and co-workers to file for Social Security Disability (SSDI) benefits. These benefits are meant to be a lifeline for the disabled.

You’re worried, however, that you don’t have much in the way of medical documentation for your condition. Maybe you injured yourself in a bad fall, for example, but you left physical therapy a while ago – and your doctor’s records don’t capture the full extent of the depression you’ve developed over your condition, anyhow. Both are important factors in your claim.

Is your case a lost cause? Not necessarily. Here’s what you should know.

SSA can send you for a consultative examination

You aren’t the first person who has filed a disability application without a lot of medical records to support their claim. Even in cases where there’s a lot of medical documentation, a lack of clarity can cause the Social Security Administration (SSA) to order one or more consultative exams.

While consultative exams should be viewed cautiously (since the doctors who perform these exams can sometimes be eager to prove they aren’t overly “patient-friendly” in order to keep getting SSA referrals), they can fill in gaps in your records.

Your lack of care will be evaluated for good cause

You can generally expect SSA to look closely at the reason that you haven’t sought more medical care for your treatment, or why you abandoned any prior treatment plan. If there’s good cause for your actions, they won’t be held against you.

For example, maybe you stopped getting treatment for your back because you’d reached the limit of your ability to improve without surgical care, and you’re terrified of something that invasive. Maybe you have sought treatment for your depression with your primary care physician, but your insurance won’t cover therapy sessions and you simply can’t afford them. Both of those are very reasonable explanations for your lack of records.

There are a lot of different factors in play when you’re applying for disability benefits. Experienced legal guidance is one of the best ways to get your SSDI claim approved.