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Social Security Consultative Medical Exams and How they affect Disability Claims

Because a great many consultative exams are scheduled simply so that the social security administration can obtain recent medical evidence (in the form of the report from the doctor or psychologist conducting the exam), claimants who receive an appointment letter for a consultative exam should not do the following:

1. They should not assume it is a positive or negative sign regarding their case. It is simply a procedural aspect of the processing of their disability claim.

2. They should not assume that their case is close to being finished. Truthfully, in many cases, a consultative examination appointment does mean that a disability examiner is trying to get a case concluded. However, very often, it has little relation to how much longer a case will need to be worked on before a final decision will be made.

Is the final decision on a social security disability or SSI claim based on the information contained in the report from the consultative examination? In a percentage of cases, the CE will provide information that can aid in the determination of a case. That is, the CE can sometimes push a case toward an approval or denial.

However, in most cases the results of a CE exam are just a formality--basically just a way for a disability claim decision-maker to obtain some recent medical evidence that will allow them to close the claim. It should be said, though, that the results of consultatives exams that are mental in nature (a psychiatric exam or psychological testing) are often much more useful in deciding the outcome of a disability case, whereas a physical CE is usually equivalent to a short office visit to a doctor.

This is particularly true since doctors who conduct physical consultative exams will ordinarily conduct a short review of a claimant's strength, coordination, reflexes, senses, and vitals (blood pressure, breathing, etc). In fact, most physical consultative exams are shorter than ten minutes.

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

Related pages:

Social Security Disability Claims and Medical Exams
What is the Purpose of the Social Security Disability SSI Medical Exam, or CE?
Social Security Medical Exam - the purpose of the Consultative Examination
Social Security Consultative Medical Exams and How they affect Disability Claims
The Social Security Disability Doctor Appointment is Called a CE
If Social Security Disability sends you to an Exam, will it be done by your doctor?
Social Security Disability, SSI Medical Exams For Physical Problems
Social Security Administration Physical Consultative Exam (CE)
Social Security Disability, SSI, and Mental Testing
Do the Results of the Social Security Psychological Exam have any Bearing on Being Approved?
Will an SSI or Social Security Exam help with the Decision?

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