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
Social Security Disability and SSI Denials
Social Security Disability and SSI 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 Disability Back Pay Benefits
Social Security Disability SSI Awards and Award Notices
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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Social Security Disability Mental Testing
People who file for social security disability (SSD) or SSI benefits on the basis of a mental impairment may be required to attend a social security medical exam, or consultative examination (CE).
Social security requires consultative exams for both physical and mental conditions, usually when there is not enough medical information available for the disability examiner to make a decision on the claim. This is particularly true in the case of mental consultative exams, because so often those with mental conditions have had little or no past medical treatment for their condition. If you have never been treated for your mental impairment, or have not been recently treated (within the past three months) you will probably be scheduled for a mental CE.
Mental CEs are given by either psychiatrists or psychologists, depending on the type of examination scheduled: a psychiatric examination, psychological exam/IQ test. These mental health professionals are not employees of the social security administration, which helps to eliminate the possibility of any bias on their part; however, do not attempt to purposely score poorly on your mental examination, as this is something that is easy for just about any qualified mental health professional to pick up on.
You should always give your best effort in any sort of mental testing, and this means answering all questions to the best of your ability, and under no circumstances giving answers that you know to be incorrect. If the psychiatrist or psychologist performing the test suspects that you are not giving your best effort, you may have to take the test again, and of course your character and your claim will appear questionable to the disability examiner or judge in charge of deciding if you should receive benefits.
In a worst-case scenario, your case may be denied if DDS (disability determination services, the state agency that makes all disability decisions for the social security administration) feels that you are obstructing the disability determination process by refusing to fully cooperate during your CE.
Cooperation also includes showing up for the exam on time and on the date scheduled. If you miss the exam you could potentially be denied for disability benefits based on failure to cooperate (though, typically, at least one missed exam, and sometimes two missed exams, will be rescheduled). This is true even if you are not filing for disability based on a mental condition, but have been asked to attend a CE because your medical records list symptoms such as depression, memory loss, or panic attacks, etc.
Bottom line: If you are scheduled for a mental consultative exam, show up and do your level best—anything less than that will seriously jeopardize your chance of being approved for disability benefits.
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