The Social Security Administration (SSA) recently announced that they were partnering with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to launch a new Health IT initiative whereby Social Security (SS) disability case processing sites will now automatically receive medical records from all VA facilities electronically. This will speed up decisions on SS disability claims, making the claims process faster for veterans and their dependents.

“VA’s partnership with Social Security will ultimately improve the quality of life for veterans and their dependents by enabling veterans to share their health information within a safe and secure health-related consumer application,” said VA’s Under Secretary for Health David Shulkin, MD.1

Details and Effective Efficiencies of the New SSA & VA Health IT Program

The following details and effective efficiencies cataloged about the new SSA & VA Health IT program were gathered from news reports and a SSA press release:

  • The new eHealth Exchange went live on Veteran’s Day, November 11, 2016, to all Social Security disability case processing sites.
  • Nearly 15 million medical records are requested by the SSA annually from medical facilities and organizations for the purpose of making disability claim decisions.
  • Since its inception, the SSA has obtained records manually – via mail, fax, and secure mail. So, this new initiative marks the first time an automated and electronic process has been instituted.

How Does the eHealth Exchange Work?

It turns out the VA uses The Sequoia Project’s eHealth Exchange to transmit patient medical records to the SSA. It’s a national network that was built to share medical records upon request. This new eHealth Exchange has three basic steps:

  • The SSA must get the veteran patient’s consent to transmit their medical records. The veteran’s signed consent is good for one year from the signature date.
  • The SSA notifies the VA that it has received the veteran’s consent, which is standard protocol for the eHealth Exchange.
  • The SSA is then able to retrieve the veteran’s continuity of care document automatically.

Contact a Portland Disability Lawyer at the Law Firm of Richard A. Sly

Are you disabled or a veteran who needs to see about enrolling with Social Security for a disability claim? If so, chance getting turned down by the Social Security Administration. Let our experienced and knowledgeable Portland Disability Lawyer Richard A. Sly help you get the best possible disability benefits possible.

For more than 30 years, Portland Disability Lawyer Richard A. Sly has been a trustworthy advocate for his clients who have sought to obtain the maximum possible disability and SSI benefits. Sly diligently builds his clients the strongest cases possible, so that they have the best chance of securing the maximum benefits the first time they submit their claim. Sly is also a seasoned advocate when it comes to handling denials or appeals.

Let Sly share how he can assist you with a free, initial consultation. Call today at (503) 406-1471 or email us using the form on the upper right side of this page. Sly has offices in downtown Portland near public transportation, but he also serves clients throughout the states of Washington and Oregon.


1“VA, SSA use eHealth Exchange to share veteran medical records” published in Heath Data Management, November 2016.