What is the Application Process for Social Security Disability and SSI?
How do you Win Benefits under Social Security Disability or SSI?
If I am determined disabled, how far back will Social Security pay benefits?
How do you prove your disability case if you have a mental condition?
What Can I Do to Improve My Chances of Winning Disability Benefits
Common Mistakes after Receiving a Denial of Social Security Disability or SSI Benefits
How to File for Disability - Tips for Filing
If You Get Approved For SSDI Will You Also Get Medicare?
How much does a Social Security disability attorney get paid?
Social Security Disability SSI Criteria and the Evaluation Process
How long does it take to be approved for SSI or Social Security disability?
What do you Need to Prove to Qualify for Disability Benefits?
Social Security Disability SSI and Fibromyalgia
Social Security Disability SSI and Degenerative Disc Disease
Can I Qualify For Disability and Receive Benefits based on Depression?
Answers to questions about SSD and SSI disability
What Disabilities Qualify for SSI and Social Security Disability Benefits?
Social Security Disability Status
Social Security Disability Tips — how a claim gets worked on
Social Security Disability, SSI Disability - Terms, Definitions, Concepts
After I File For Disability Will Social Security Pay For Me To See A Doctor?
How to prove you are disabled
and win disability benefits
Many disability applicants have a misconception as to the medical examinations provided by Social Security. Social Security consultative examinations are just short cursory examinations that give disability examiners enough current medical information to make a disability determination. Consultative examinations are not to provide the disability applicant with medical treatment, although there are times that Social Security does perform additional medical testing that might be useful to the disability applicant.
Generally, Social Security does not schedule a consultative medical examination if an individual has had A) medical treatment in the past for their disability condition or conditions and B) current medical treatment for their disabling condition or conditions.
Additionally, there are times when disability examiners find other impairments mentioned in an individual's medical information that have not been alleged by the applicant but must be addressed. For example, if an individual is filing for their disability claim based upon their back problem and they happen to mention that they have been depressed or their doctor’s notes show that the applicant is being prescribed medication for depression, they may have to attend a consultative examination in order for Social Security to address the severity of their depression.
Some applicants have to attend consultative examinations because they either have no medical treatment or they have medical treatment information that is more than ninety days old. Either way, disability examiners are required to schedule whatever consultative examinations are needed to provide current information about a disability applicant's medical and/or mental conditions.
Lastly, an individual might be required to attend a consultative examination even if they have a medical history and current medical evidence that addresses their disability condition. If the disability examiner cannot make a decision with the medical evidence in the file, they may send the disability applicant to a specialist (i.e. orthopedist, neurologist, etc.) for clarification of the medical information they have received from treating medical sources.
For the most part, disability applicants are sent for consultative examinations to get an idea of their ability to engage in work activity. Which means that the physician just checks general things like blood pressure, heart rate, and ability to move around if the individual is alleging a physical impairment; or the applicants ability to perform routine repetitive tasks in spite of their mental condition if they are alleging a mental condition.
Most consultative examinations are only done to allow the disability examiners to approve or deny an individual’s disability claim. And unfortunately, most consultative examinations do not lead to an approval for Social Security disability.
Return to: SSDRC, or the Questions, Answers, Tips, and Advice page
Individual Questions and Answers
SSD and SSI are Federal Programs
The title II Social Security Disability and title 16 SSI Disability programs operate under federal guidelines and, therefore, the program requirements--medical and non-medical--apply to all states:
Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming
Recent approval and denial statistics for various states can be viewed here:
Social Security Disability, SSI Approval and Denial Statistics by state
Special Section: Disability Lawyers and unnecessary claim denials