Overview of Disability

Disability Back Pay

Disability Requirements

Disability Applications

Disability Advice Tips

How long do cases take?

How to win Disability

SSD Mistakes to avoid

Disability for Mental

What if you get denied?

How to file Appeals

Disability through SSA

SSI Disability Benefits

Disability for Children

How do I qualify for it?

Working and Disability

Disability Award Notice

Disability Lawyer Q&A

Disability Conditions List

What is a disability?

Your Medical Evidence

Filing for your Disability

Disability Eligibility

SSD SSI Definitions

Recent Questions

SSDRC Disability Blog

Social Security Disability, SSI Medical Exams For Physical Problems

SSA disability claims for physical problems can be difficult to win without recent medical records. When Social Security disability examiners make their medical determinations, they prefer to have a twelve month medical history that includes some kind of medical treatment records within ninety days of the application date. Disability examiners are not required to have a twelve-month medical history of an individualís alleged medical or mental impairment but they are required to have current medical information about all alleged disabling impairments.

Many disability applicants have been out of work for quite some time; consequently they have lost their health insurance and they have no money. Therefore they may not have any recent medical treatment with which the disability examiner can make a decision.

Social Security disability examiners are obligated to have a current status of an individualís physical problems prior to making their medical determination, so the social security administration has to provide the disability applicant with a medical examination (a CE, or consultative examination) to address their alleged disabling physical problems.

Who performs a Social Security Disability or SSI Medical Exam?

Contrary to what many people believe, ďSocial SecurityĒ doctors do not perform consultative examinations. The doctors that perform consultative examinations are usually doctors who practice in a locality who are willing to perform consultative examinations for Social Security for an agreed upon fee per examination. Unfortunately, these examinations are often performed by physicians whose medical specialty may have nothing whatsoever to do with the disability applicantís physical problem or problems.

Although Social Security guidelines state that consultative examinations should be performed by a physician whose specialty addresses the disability applicantís physical or mental condition, it is rare that an individual sees a physician whose specialty actually addresses their physical impairment.

This is due to the that there are so few physicians in many areas and, of those doctors, many are not willing to perform consultative examinations. So that leaves disability applicants in the position of going to any doctor who simply agrees to perform consultative examination in their area, no matter what their medical specialty is.

By their very nature, consultative examinations usually do not help a disability applicant win disability benefits. Consultative examinations are short basic evaluations performed just to meet the requirement of SSA having current medical information. Many times these examinations are not even ten minutes long and are not very thorough.

Consultative examinations are not meant to provide any kind of treatment or an in-depth look at an individualís physical problems. This is why it is so difficult for an individual to win their disability benefits without recent treatment notes from a treating medical source who is familiar with their physical problems. It is hard to determine the severity of an individualís physical problems and their residual functional capacity (what they are able to do despite the limitations of their physical or mental problem) in a ten-minute examination with a physician who knows nothing about them.

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 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