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
Will Social Security Grant Disability If I Have Not Been To the Doctor?
How to prove you are disabled
and win disability benefits
Social Security disability determinations must be based upon objective medical evidence from acceptable medical treatment sources. Additionally, Social Security, when making a medical determination, prefers a twelve-month medical history from an individual’s treating medical source or sources (i.e. your doctor or doctors) that includes medical evidence that is no more than three months old.
However, this is the optimum situation with regard to medical evidence. Many individuals who file for disability have no medical records, have only very old medical records, or have no current medical records. Since Social Security is obligated to have some amount of current medical evidence when making a disability determination, they pay independent physicians to perform consultative examinations in order to provide a current "snapshot" of a claimant's condition.
Consultative examinations can be performed for all types of mental and medical conditions. Consultative examinations that involve learning disorders, mental retardation, or memory problems may include testing to evaluate the severity of the impairment as well as provide an opinion as to the disability applicant’s ability to perform work activity.
If the impairment is a physical impairment, the examination may include things that address an individual's mobility, breathing, heart rate, blood pressure etc. Physical examinations will involve a cursory physical examination and possibly some testing. Social Security does pay for non-invasive testing such as blood work, x-rays, or even breathing or pulmonary function testing. They do not pay for more expensive imaging tests such as MRIs or CT scans, and they absolutely do not perform any type of invasive testing.
Consultative examinations, a.k.a. social security medical exams, are not meant to provide any kind of medical treatment for the disability applicant and, in fact, are just to provide a current medical status for a Social Security disability determination.
Regrettably, most consultative examinations do not result in an approval for disability benefits unless an individual has an impairment that is clearly disabling. Therefore, if at all possible, an individual who is considering filing for Social Security disability or SSI should try to get medical treatment. Even medical treatment from a hospital or free clinic, or health department, is better than no medical treatment information. After all, if an individual has no treatment, then their entire disability case depends on a short perfunctory consultative examination, performed by a doctor who has been hired by the social security administration and who has never treated or even seen the claimant before.
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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