Medical Summary Report (MSR)

Medical Summary Report (MSR)


Documenting Disability for Medical Providers is a free online training provided by the National Health Care for the Homeless Council.

One of the most important tasks for you to accomplish is to make the link between diagnosis and functional impairment so that DDS can fully understand the applicant’s disability. This article discusses how to ask questions that elicit the information you will use to write your Medical Summary Report (MSR).

For applicants with mental disorders, DDS examiners look at a person’s ability to function in four primary areas. Your responsibility is to describe the functioning of the individual in as much detail as possible and to document how the person’s illness impairs his or her ability to function and maintain employment at a substantial gainful level.

This article provides example descriptions for the areas of mental functioning.  The “effective” functional descriptions clearly link the symptoms of the applicant’s illness with their limitations.

We’ve gathered examples of well-written, successful Medical Summary Reports (MSRs) from SOAR providers across the country for the SOAR community to use as extra guidance.

Here are examples of completed SSA and SOAR Forms using information from a fictitious SSI/SSDI applicant.

The Medical Summary Report (MSR) is SOAR’s signature tool and key to a successful application. It provides a succinct, comprehensive summary of the applicant’s personal and treatment history and its impact on his or her life. It also clearly describes the factors affecting functioning and ability to work.

This article includes suggestions, tips and strategies to help you write your first Medical Summary Report (MSR). If you breakdown the MSR into sections, it is much easier to write. It is a critical part of a SOAR application packet but do not be intimidated by it!

As we announced in September, the Social Security Administration (SSA) invited comments on proposed changes to how they evaluate medical evidence, including adding Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs) as acceptable medical sources. We are excited to announce that SSA published the Final Rule in the Federal Register this morning, which will go into effect for any applications filed on or after March 27, 2017.

What do medical providers need to know about SOAR and the Medical Summary Report?


On this webinar, held on Tuesday, August 3, 2021, we took a deep dive into writing effective and culturally aware Medical Summary Reports (MSRs).

On this webinar, held on August 28, 2019, participants learned tips and tools on how to write quality Medical Summary Reports (MSR).

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