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Anxiety and Panic before a Social Security Disability Medical Exam

As a disability examiner, I scheduled consultative medical examinations for social security disability and SSI claimants all the time. Practically on a daily basis. However, in my capacity as an examiner, I never really considered whether or not claimants became nervous or anxious before going to one. Recently, I read a statement by an individual who said he'd gotten an appointment letter for a CE (consultative medical exam) and that, ever since, he's felt anxiety and panic over the prospect of going to such an exam.

Anxiety. It's all understandable and not surprising. After all, every claimant who goes off to one of these exams knows, from their perspective, that what happens at the exam is very important to their case. Considering how desperate a person can feel when they're waiting to see if their disability case will be approved or denied, even sheer panic is a normal reaction.

For anyone reading this page who A) is scheduled for a physical or mental consultative exam, B) has already gone to an exam, or C) is finds themselves applying for disability and is giving the subject some thought----

Don't worry. Seriously, you don't need to worry about a CE. Why? Here's why.

1. Consultative exams are just one aspect of the disability determination process, and, honestly, a fairly small one at that.

2. Medical records from your medical treatment sources, particularly your treating physician (including the doctor's notes and any statements he or she submits on your behalf to the disability examiner, the disability judge, or your attorney) are much more important.

3. The consultative exam that you go to for a social security disability or SSI case is seldom the "deal maker or breaker". That is, cases are rarely decided based on the results of a CE.

If that's the case, then, why does social security schedule these medical exams? Sometimes, they are scheduled if you allege a condition on your application for disability but have never been treated for that condition (depression is a good example).

In other instances, a CE will be requested when you haven't been to a doctor in as long as 2 months. And sometimes a CE is scheduled when you have a condition but haven't been subjected to certain types of testing that would be helpful to the adjudicator. Examples include xrays, breathing tests (known as Pulmonary function tests or spirometry), cardiac stress tests, memory scales, and psychological testing.

Return to:  Social Security Disability Resource Center, or read answers to Questions

Related pages:

Appealing A Social Security Disability decision
Why is the Social Security Disability Decision Process So Slow?
Can you get a Social Security Disability decision in under a month?
Getting approved for disability based on being blind
Anxiety about a Social Security Disability medical exam
Can you get disability for OCD?
Can you get disability for Chronic fatigue and Fibromyalgia?
Is Chronic Fatigue considered a disability by Social Security?
Is an FCE the same thing as the RFC evaluation done by Social Security Disability?
How is memory loss considered by Social Security Disability?
Is Morbid Obesity Considered A Disability?
SSDI Request for Reconsideration
Social Security Disability Back Payment Lump Sum
Appealing a Social Security Disability Claim decision
SSI Reconsideration vs SSDI Disability Reconsideration

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 provide answers to basic questions about pursuing disability benefits

How to file for disability, filing tips
What to Prove to Qualify for Disability Benefits
Applying for disability benefits, SSI and SSDI
What Disabilities Qualify for SSI and Social Security Disability?
Will you get disability back pay?
Social Security Disability And SSI Qualifications
Permanent Disability Qualifications for SSD and SSI
Social Security Disability SSI status
Disability lawyer representation, finding lawyers
Who will qualify for disability and what qualifying is based on
Qualifications for Disability Benefits
Important points about filing for disability
How long does it take to get disability after applying?
Am I Eligible For Social Security Disability?
Who is eligible for SSI disability?
How to get disability in Florida