You’ve finally received a notice that your Social Security hearing has been scheduled. However, the letter contained a strange line from the judge: if there is more evidence you want to submit, get it to me right away. If you cannot get the evidence to me before the hearing, bring it to the hearing.

What kind of evidence is he talking about—and if you don’t try to submit more evidence, is it going to negatively affect your case?

How Can Medical Records Cause Delays in Your Social Security Hearing?

The judge in your hearing will base his decision largely on the medical evidence you provide, so the more conclusive proof you have, the faster he can give his decision. Your disability claims examiner at Disability Determination Services (DDS) should send all of the medical records you have included in your file on to the court; however, you will likely have continued your treatment in the months while you have waited for your hearing. You should send any new treatment notes, test results, and doctors’ findings to the administrative law judge before your hearing date; otherwise, you may see a delay in the final decision in your disability hearing due to:

  • Records processing. Your judge will give the most weight to your most recent medical information, since this will show how your current condition prevents you from working. If you do not have access to your own medical record, you may have to request copies from the hospital or clinic—many of whom will insist on sending the documents straight to the court instead of to you.
  • Open record. If all of your medical records have not arrived by the day of your hearing, you may request that the judge wait to issue a decision until all of the evidence has been seen. This is called holding the record open, and will further prolong both the hearing and decision in your case.
  • Consultative exams. If the medical evidence in your case is inconclusive, a judge may hold your case open in order to send you to a consultative examination with a Social Security doctor. Not only will this mean additional waiting for an appointment with a doctor, but you will also need to have yet another hearing date scheduled to present the results to the judge.

One of the many benefits of having an attorney on your side is the ability to have all of your medical records gathered quickly and efficiently. If you are missing important exam notes, your disability lawyer can track them down and get them expedited to the court, reducing your wait time for a final decision.

To find out how we can help you get your disability application approved as quickly as possible, email us today at [email protected] or call us at (402) 933-5405 and tell us about your claim.


Sean D. Cuddigan
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SSA and VA Disability Attorney in Omaha, Nebraska