Life is already hard for individuals who are disabled. Not being able to earn for oneself because they are especially abled should not add to the difficulties in their life. With SSD (Social Security Disability) benefits, individuals who cannot work because of their disability can get financial support to help them get through.
SSD is a step to make their lives easier. However, applying for this benefit can be a lengthy process. For starters, you need to make sure you have solid medical evidence and therefore you need a well-organized and thorough chronology to support your claim. This article explores the importance of medical chronology in Social Security Disability cases and some tips to ensure thoroughness. But before we get started, let’s learn what Medical Chronology is.
What is Medical Chronology?
Medical Chronology is a full detailed report on a patient’s medical condition, history, and treatment over a period of time. This report needs to be thorough and detailed, but above all, it has to be generated by a medical professional. Hence, it is usually created by doctors, nurses, or medical record specialists.
In the legal field, generating a solid medical chronology is a part of paralegal services and the paralegals are completely responsible for collaborating with a medical professional and preparing detailed reports of the patient’s medical record. This report must contain:
- Patient’s information
- Patient’s medical history
- Medical Examinations and Diagnostics
- Treatment History
- Progress Notes
- Injuries and Trauma
- Radiology and Imaging
- Pathology and Laboratory Results
This information should be presented in chronological order for better understanding. Paralegal services providers need to make sure to properly check or even double-check all the details and sources so that the other party cannot figure out any loopholes. Finally, all these data, documents, and evidence are to be signed by the medical professional.
The Significance of Medical Chronology?
By far, we have already learned what medical chronology is. However, why does this report play such an important role in Social Security Disability cases? SSD Benefits is a scheme that the government has launched to make sure that disabled persons who cannot work because of their conditions, get some financial support that will help them get through. However, in order to ensure that no one takes advantage of this, it is crucial to submit a medical chronology report prepared by professionals. Here is why this report helps build a solid claim in SSD cases:
Social Security Disability cases require medical records and history. There can be several documents and medical reports of the patient’s entire medical history. The paralegal service providers need to prepare a well-organized medical chronology as it chronologically sorts all the documents, and it is easier to review the progression of the patient.
Medical history is a very crucial aspect of SSD cases. Without a medical chronology report, one will not be able to establish the severity of the condition and for how long the claimant is suffering. Medical reports also help in understanding how the condition has evolved over time.
Gaps in medical procedures might raise a lot of eyebrows. The other party can use these voids to question the legitimacy of the disability claim. However, a thorough chronology prepared by paralegal services providers can justify these gaps and explain the context like financial constraints or unavailability of appropriate medical care.
Supporting the Alleged Onset Date (AOD)
AOD is the date when the patient believes his disability began. Medical chronology supports the Alleged Onset Date as it aligns with the date and demonstrates the progression of the condition leading up to it.
Medical chronology plays a vital role in the final decision-making of the patient’s claim. A well-prepared chronology by a professional paralegal services provider or legal professional helps in making sure that all the information Adjudicators need for making the decision for SSD claims is readily available to them.
Ensuring Thoroughness in Medical Chronologies
You already know by far that medical chronology is pretty important in SSD cases. Here are some strategies that will help paralegal services providers and legal professionals to ensure thoroughness in the chronology.
Gather All Relevant Medical Records
Before you start preparing a chronology, it is best to gather all the relevant medical documents and data beforehand. Make sure you have all the documents you need to prepare a solid medical chronology. It will make the process easier and since all the data is readily available, it would be less lengthy.
It is very important to sort all the information in chronological order. This means you need to align the documents from the earliest and progress towards the most recent. Arranging the records will not only make it easier to review the evidence but also help in understanding more about the condition. This timeline should cover the entire period of the claimed disability.
Being a paralegal services provider, it is your duty to provide context for each entry, each visit, gaps, diagnostic records, physician’s opinions, treatments and medicines, etc. This context will help adjudicators to understand the medical condition better. Moreover, it will help in justifying the significance of each medical event.
Highlight Key Milestones
Emphasize significant events, such as surgeries, hospitalizations, changes in medications, and periods of worsening symptoms. These milestones can help demonstrate the progression and severity of the disability.
Address Gaps in Treatment
It is crucial to explain the gaps in medical history or treatment of the patient’s condition. If context is not given, it might raise a lot of eyebrows and may lead to questioning the legitimacy of the disability claim. Basically, if there are periods where the claimant has not undergone medical treatment, a paralegal services provider needs to explain the reason like financial constrain or unavailability of appropriate medical treatment.
Include Statements from Healthcare Providers
Official statements and opinions from medical professionals carry a lot of weight. It gives more value to the claim when a medical professional supports it with their official statement. You can incorporate any letters, reports, or assessments from physicians that detail the impact of the disability on the claimant’s ability to work.
Consistency with the Alleged Onset Date
While preparing the medical chronology, you will need to make sure that all the records and evidence align with the alleged onset date. Alleged Onset Date or AOD is the date when the claimant believes his medical condition began. Clearly demonstrate how the condition has evolved leading up to this date.
Keep It Concise
On one hand, thoroughness in medical chronology is crucial. But on the other hand, you need to keep it concise. Do not add irrelevant justifications or facts. Do not make the report lengthy. It is best if you only add the relevant information so that it is not cumbersome to review the chronology. Adding excessive or redundant details can not only make the chronology lengthy but can affect the reviewer’s attention while reviewing it.
The medical chronology to the SSD case is like a legal professional to the court. Basically, there is no SSD case without a meticulously prepared chronology. Ensuring that the medical chronology is well constructed and is thorough, can give you leverage on the case. With this, we come to the end of how a medical chronology report is essential for Social Security Disability cases and how one can ensure that they maintain thoroughness in the report. The best way for a paralegal services provider to generate a chronology is by collaborating with medical professionals.
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