Committee Reports

Support for Legislation to Ensure Medical Records Access for Low-Income Disabled Individuals


The Social Welfare Committee (Susan E. Welber, Chair) wrote a letter to Governor Cuomo urging him to sign legislation that would prohibit charges for certain health records needed for government benefits or programs. Disabled New Yorkers need access to their medical records when applying for Social Security disability benefits (including Supplemental Security Income or SSI), other means-tested benefits, and veteran’s benefits. Current public health and mental hygiene law already prohibits charging for access to medical records for those who cannot afford to pay. However, disregard of the fee waiver provision, the difficult process of establishing eligibility for the waiver, and providers’ use of outside copying services have prevented eligible low income New Yorkers from receiving free access to their own medical records. As a result, disabled claimants who are not able to pay for copies of their own medical records cannot obtain access to the evidence necessary to support their claims, leading to denials of benefits. The supported legislation lifts the major impediment to obtaining the medical evidence necessary for a successful claim for federal and other government benefits. 


A.7842 (AM Gottfried) / S.6078 (Sen. Valesky) – Relates to prohibiting charges for certain health records needed for government benefits or programs (NYS 2017)


Signed by Governor, Chp. 322 – September 13, 2017