Social Security Disability Definitions
Social Security Disability and SSI Overview
The Requirements for Disability
Social Security Disability and SSI Applications
Tips and Advice for Disability Claims
How long does Disability take?
Common Mistakes after Receiving a Disability Denial
Disability Denials and Filing Appeals
Social Security Mental Disability Benefits
Disability Benefits offered through Social Security
Benefits through SSI disability
Disability Benefits for Children
Disability Qualifications and How to Qualify
Social Security Disability and Working
Winning your Disability Benefits
Social Security Back Pay and the disability award notice
Disability Lawyers and Hiring an Attorney
Social Security Disability SSI List of Conditions
What is considered a Disabling condition by Social Security?
Social Security Disability SSI and Medical Evidence
Filing for Disability Benefits
Eligibility for Disability Benefits
SSDRC authored by Tim Moore
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When Social Security Disability Sends You To A Doctor, What Kind Is It?
The kind of doctor that Social Security disability might send you to depends upon your disabling condition or conditions. Social Security disability examiners usually send you to a consultative examination (usually called a CE) if your own medical sources are inadequate to determine whether or not you are disabled under Social Security disability guidelines.
Disability examiners may attempt to get more information by recontacting your medical sources for more information or even clarification, or by scheduling a consultative examination. Social Security prefers to use your medical treatment source (i.e. your personal doctor) to be their consultative doctor if he or she is equipped, qualified, and willing to perform a consultative examination for the authorized fee.
However, Social Security rules give the disability examiner the option to use an independent medical source for the consultative examination or diagnostic test if: 1. Your doctor prefers not to perform the examination;
2. Your doctor does not have the equipment to provide the data needed for your disability determination;
3. You prefer to go to a different doctor and have a good reason for doing so;
4. Your doctor is not a productive source for medical information;
I should point out, at this point, that, in my experience as a disability examiner, very few consultative medical exams were ever performed by a claimant's own physician. Usually, claimants simply go to exams that are conducted by contracted doctors whom they've never met.
If the disability examiner determines that they need more medical information, you may have to attend a consultative examination with a physician, psychiatrist, psychologist, ophthalmologist, neurologist, etc.
The doctor performing the CE may not even specialize in a medical field that deals with their disabling condition (i.e. you may be alleging back pain but your consultative examination doctor might be a allergist), especially if the disability examiner needs information about the limitations of a physical problem (basically, social security sends you to whoever is available in your area to conduct a general exam).
Most individuals who have mental disabling conditions at least see someone who specializes in mental conditions. Typically, this may mean a psychiatrist if a full psychiatric exam is to be performed, but it will usually mean being seen by a psychologist if a memory test or IQ test, or a mental status exam is to be given.
Also, if disability examiners have plenty of general medical information but are in need of some clarification of the records, or a more expert evaluation of an individualís condition or limitations, they may send them to a specialist for clarification. Consequently, some disability claimants receive more thorough evaluations by doctors who specialize in their disabling condition. That is if the disability examiner cannot determine their limitations through regular medical treatment records.
It was my experience as a disability examiner that far more general consultative examinations are performed than consultative examinations with specialists. And, for the most part, these consultative examinations are simply geared to give the disability examiner a general status of your disabling condition. Therefore, most consultative examinations do not lead to an approval for benefits unless they are something like intelligence quotient (IQ) testing or perhaps memory testing to evaluate mental functioning because these are not very subjective by nature.
With such testing, an individual completes the testing and their scores determine the severity of their disabling conditions. Whereas, the evaluation of other physical conditions, such as back pain, can be far more subjective.
Return to: Social Security Disability Resource Center, or read answers to Questions
Information on the following topics can be found here: Social Security Disability Questions and in these subsections:
Frequently asked questions about getting Denied for Disability Benefits | FAQ on Disability Claim Representation | Info about Social Security Disability Approvals and Being Approved | FAQ on Social Security Disability SSI decisions | The SSD SSI Decision Process and what gets taken into consideration | Disability hearings before Judges | Medical exams for disability claims | Applying for Disability in various states | Selecting and hiring Disability Lawyers | Applying for Disability in North Carolina | Recent articles and answers to questions about SSD and SSI
These pages answer some of the most basic questions for individuals who are considering filing a claim.
Filing for disability - How to file for SSD or SSI and the Information that is needed by Social Security
How to Apply for Disability - What medical conditions can you apply and qualify for?
Applying for Disability - How long does it take to get Social Security Disability or SSI benefits?
What happens if I file a disability application and it is denied by a disability examiner or Judge?
How to Prove you are disabled and qualify to win disability benefits
How do you prove your disability case if you have a mental condition or impairment?
Social Security Disability Back pay and How Long it Takes to Qualify for it and receive it
Social Security Disability SSI - Eligibility Requirements and Qualifications Criteria