When a person opens a claim for Social Security benefits, the Social Security Administration (SSA) opens a file on that person. The file will contain all of the forms the person who is seeking benefits (the “claimant”) has filed. The file will contain any medical records the SSA has obtained from the claimant’s doctors and records and reports from doctors the claimant was sent to by the SSA. Finally, the file will contain any past decisions made regarding the claimant’s claim.
While this material is not public, claimants have the right to review all the material in their file and to receive a copy of the material in their file. In order to get a copy of the file, a claimant can go to the local Social Security office in person and ask for a copy or call and ask for a copy. If the file is an electronic file (meaning that all of the documents, forms, records and reports have been scanned into a computer) the Social Security office can simply burn a copy of the file onto a CD. If the file is an older file and is still a strictly paper file, the claimant would have to make copies of any documents she would want.
Regardless of whether the file is paper or electronic, you, the claimant, have a right to review it. You have the right to see what your doctor has said about your condition as well as what the doctors Social Security sent you to have to say about your condition. You have the right to make sure the material in your file is accurate and up to date.
Make sure that you know all of your rights under Social Security. If you have a problem getting a copy of your Social Security file, or have any questions on Social Security, don’t hesitate to contact us.