The State agency, also known as Disability Determination Services (“DDS”), which makes the initial decisions on Social Security Disability (“SSD”) applications, has a history of purging records from claimants’ files that support the disability claim. The problem is that you only learn about the purging after the DDS denies the application.
After the DDS denies an SSD application, the claim is transferred to the hearing office of the Social Security Administration (“SSA”). At that point, the file becomes accessible, but the file does not get completely “processed” for many months after that time.
Twice more within the last week I learned that the DDS purged supporting records. The DDS omitted records of a Nassau County claimant’s doctors, and in the other incident, the DDS omitted records from a Queen’s claimant’s doctors. The DDS’s pattern has continued where each time a submission is missing, it is always a report in which the treating physician provides a residual functional capacity assessment that precludes work.
The Nassau County claimant has severe physical and mental conditions. I submitted reports from three doctors that precluded her from being able to work, and records from a fourth. The Queens claimant has severe mental conditions. I submitted reports from her two doctors that precluded her from being able to work. Because these DDS purges have become routine, I kept copies of the Electronic Records Express receipt showing that the DDS have received all of the reports and records, which I included when I resubmitted the medical reports and records.
Do not assume that your medical evidence will be in the file just because you mailed in an SSA return envelope or have a fax confirmation. It is no accident that when the DDS excludes medical evidence those documents have always included functional assessments that preclude work. Always check, and then regularly recheck, the claim file to ensure that all submitted records have found their way into the official claim file.