In reviewing your claim for disability benefits, the Social Security Administration wants “objective medical evidence” that supports your claim.

Among the medical records the SSA requires are some specific documents your doctor, therapist or counselor must sign.

About medical records

It would be difficult for you to obtain approval for Social Security Disability benefits if you do not provide recent medical records. The SSA wants to see evidence of your impairment and how it limits your ability to work. SSA personnel can gather the backup they need from your healthcare providers. However, this is an effort that could take months. Collecting the medical records yourself will make the review and approval process go much faster.

Required RFC forms

There are two essential forms, one for a physical impairment and one for a mental impairment, that require a doctor’s signature. A doctor’s letter containing your diagnosis, onset date and how the illness or condition limits your ability to work must accompany the Physical Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) form along with complete medical records. If you are applying for disability benefits because of mental impairment, your psychiatrist, psychologist, therapist or counselor must sign the Mental Residual Functional Capacity RFC form. Files from a vocational rehabilitation program, psychiatric evaluations, caseworker assessments or other information about your disability and expected progress must accompany this form.

Approval issues

Even after you provide all the necessary forms and medical records, there is still a chance that the SSA will deny your disability benefits claim. This is not uncommon and is no cause for alarm. An advocate can help you present an appeal with further medical information that could earn you SSA approval.