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Social Security Disability SSI and Medical Evidence

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What should you say if you go to a Social Security Exam?

How to prove you are disabled
and win disability benefits

If you have filed for Social Security Disability (SSD), you could be asked to attend a Social Security exam, also called a consultative exam (CE).

Many disability applicants are apprehensive about these exams, afraid they will say or do something that will prompt the examining physician to write an unfavorable report. This fear is ungrounded, but easy enough to understand since many SSD applicants who have attended CEs report that the physician performing the exam was nothing short of rude.

Unfortunately, some physicians who perform CEs are a bit skeptical of, even biased against, those seeking disability. Others are performing this service for Social Security simply because the exams take very little of their time (10 to 15 minutes on average), and provide them with a steady source of income.

If you attend a CE and are faced with an unsympathetic attitude by the physician performing your exam, try not to take it personally. Many SSD applicants, particularly those who are older and perhaps embarrassed to be applying for disability, actually tend to downplay their symptoms or physical limitations at the CE. This is not in their best interest.

Remember that another name for SSD is SSDI ó- Social Security Disability Insurance. If you have worked and paid into the system through FICA taxes deducted from your paychecks over the years, you are entitled to disability if you become too impaired to work. That is the whole point of the programó-to ensure that everybody has some kind of safety net in the event they become disabled.

So, if you attend a CE the best thing you can do is report for the appointment on time (missing scheduled exams could result in a denial of your claim). Then, simply tell the truth. Donít try to tell your life story in there-ójust answer the physicianís questions honestly. Also, donít allow a bad attitude on the part of your physician to bully you into being overly compliant to the point that you pretend your condition or limitations arenít that bad.

If you have pain or difficulty performing any physical or mental tasks the physician asks you to do, do not be afraid to show it. Just remember that in general physicians who perform CEs are more interested in finishing quickly and writing up a report than getting any in-depth idea of your medical condition.

In short, donít worry about what to say at your Social Security exam. Answer questions honestly regarding any limitations you have as a result of your impairment, and let the physician write up his report. CEs are usually just a formality anyway, and have very little impact on the outcome of your case. They are not likely to trump the opinion of your treating physician or the evidence contained within your medical records.

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

Social Security Disability SSI decisions | The Disability Decision Process and What gets taken into Consideration | Getting Denied for Disability Benefits | Questions about Social Security Disability Approvals and Being Approved | Social Security Disability Hearings | Social Security Medical Examinations | Social Security SSI Doctors | Social Security Disability Representation | Social Security Disability SSI Reviews