Getting Medical Evidence For Benefits
To apply for certain benefits or to appeal benefits decisions you will need to get medical evidence from your GP, specialist consultant or other health practitioner.
What medical evidence will I need?
You can ask your healthcare professional to write a letter explaining your condition and how you are functionally affected on a day to day basis. It is important that it is specific about how you are affected because people can have a different range of experiences even though they have the same condition.
It can be helpful if they comment on how far you can walk, what kind of tasks you need help with, and whether there are any safety issues to consider. We recommend you take photocopies of any evidence you send off.
It may also be helpful for any support workers or family/friends who act as a carer for you to write a letter of support which can give some detail of the kind of help you need at home. It is accepted that medical professionals will not know the full detail of your daily life.
How to get hold of your medical evidence
The Data Protection Act 2018 and General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) mean that you can access any personal data about yourself. This includes including health records which contain information about your mental and physical health, recorded by a healthcare professional as part of your care.
You don’t have to give a reason why you want to access your data. For GP patient records, submit your request in writing to your surgery. We recommend that you ask for your patient record for the last couple of years, including copies of referrals and letters to and from consultants. For hospital records, you can write to your hospital’s Patient Services Manager.
GDPR states that you should not be charged a fee for this information, unless a request is ‘manifestly unfounded or excessive’ or if you are requesting further copies of your data. In these cases, a reasonable fee may be charged or your request may be rejected.
To find out more about your rights around personal data visit the Independent Commissioners Office website.