June 19, 2017
How does HIPAA impact your Social Security Disability Benefits application? The Social Security experts at Disability Associates weigh in, and explain how your privacy is protected in when applying for Social Security Disability.
What is HIPAA?
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) was enacted in 1996, and “provide[s] privacy standards to protect patient’s medical records and other health information provided to health plans, doctors, hospitals and other health care providers.” HIPAA gives patients more control of health information, ensuring that boundaries are in place regarding the use and release of health records.
An act passed in 2009, known as The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act, works in tandem with HIPAA by increasing penalties for health organizations that violate the regulations established by the act. This supplemental legislation was created in response to technology development in health industries and increased use, storage and transmittal of electronic health-related information.
Does the Social Security Administration (SSA) Comply with HIPAA?
HIPAA regulations do not apply to the SSA or Disability Determination Services agencies (DDS) in regards to disclosing medical information. The Privacy Act of 1974, which governs the collection, use, dissemination, and maintenance of information collected by federal agencies, takes precedence over HIPAA for any agency under the jurisdiction of the federal government. Once information is released to the SSA, HIPAA regulations cease to apply to the information in question.
That being said, the SSA and DDS agencies have altered the forms they use to receive medical information from health organizations so that it complies with HIPAA regulations. This allows hospitals, health clinics, doctors and other members of health industries to maintain compliance with HIPAA. These forms use very specific language, and meet designated criteria to be HIPAA compliant. They include a description of information to be disclosed, the person or body authorized to disclose, the person or body to whom the information will be disclosed, the purpose of disclosure, an expiration date for the purpose of disclosure and the date and signature of the individual in question.
How Can Disability Associates Help Protect My Health Information?
At Disability Associates, our client’s safety and privacy is of utmost concern. One of our experienced legal professionals can help walk you through any HIPAA-related questions or concerns you may have, and put you at ease regarding any sensitive health information. There’s no reason to file for Social Security Disability Benefits without a knowledgeable guide by your side—contact us today for more information.