Depending upon where your cases in the appeals process, the Social Security claims file is generally broken down into 3 or 4 categories. Each categories letter, beginning with the “A” documents, the “B” documents, and so forth.
Prior to hearing, the “A” section includes a summary of the disability determination, referred to as a “disability determination transmittal.” In the newer cases, explanations of the decision, both at the initial denial, and at reconsideration are found in this part of the file. These explanations are helpful because the decision maker is explaining why he or she denied the claim. We often review these documents at the time we open the file, and prior to hearing to give our client an idea of the issues in their case.
The “B” file contains miscellaneous jurisdictional documents, including the actual notices of denial. Also, copies of the request for review are included in this part of the file. The “D” file includes the actual application for disability insurance, as well as earnings records.
The “E” file includes any statements made by the claimant, or any witnesses. For example, the work activity report, the disability report, and questionnaires aimed at certain medical conditions are included in this part of the file. Also, if Social Security contacted you, a record of that contact may be included in this part of the file. This is an important part of the file, because in it, the applicant is talking about how his or her medical conditions affect their ability to function.
The last part of the file, and possibly the most important, is the “F” section of the file. This file contains the medical records, as well as opinions from doctors and other health care providers regarding the nature and extent of medical problems, and how much they disable a particular applicant. There may be medical opinions from doctors who reviewed records on the half of the State agency to review the initial application and the first appeal, consult of examinations ordered by the State agency, or even an Administrative Law Judge, and medical records. If we obtain a medical opinion supporting disability, it will be found in this part of the file.
In some cases, if somebody filed a prior application, then some of those materials may be present in the new application file. This includes any prior Unfavorable Decisions. In these cases, there may be an issue as to whether or not an applicant can raise any issues that were part of the prior application.
If you have requested a hearing, or any kind of an appeal on your Social Security Disability claim, and you have questions, call us at 503-325-8600. We can answer questions about your claims file.