How to file for disability, Filing for SSI
Disability Requirements, Disability Status
How long is the wait?, Disability Application
The Social Security List of Impairments
Qualifying for Disability, Mental Disability
Disability Lawyer Info, Disability Back Pay

When Social Security Disability Sends You To A Doctor, What Kind Is It?

The kind of doctor that Social Security Disability might send you to depends upon your disabling condition or conditions. Social Security Disability examiners usually send you to a consultative examination (usually called a CE) if your own medical sources are inadequate to determine whether or not you are disabled under Social Security Disability guidelines.

Disability examiners may attempt to get more information by recontacting your medical sources for more information or even clarification, or by scheduling a consultative examination. Social Security prefers to use your medical treatment source (i.e. your personal doctor) to be their consultative doctor if he or she is equipped, qualified, and willing to perform a consultative examination for the authorized fee.

However, Social Security rules give the disability examiner the option to use an independent medical source for the consultative examination or diagnostic test if:

1. Your doctor prefers not to perform the examination;

2. Your doctor does not have the equipment to provide the information needed for your disability determination;

3. You prefer to go to a different doctor and have a good reason for doing so;

4. Your doctor is not a productive source for medical information;

I should point out, at this point, that, in my experience as a disability examiner, very few consultative medical exams were ever performed by a claimant's own physician. Usually, claimants simply go to exams that are conducted by contracted doctors whom they've never met.

If the disability examiner determines that they need more medical information, you may have to attend a consultative examination with a physician, psychiatrist, psychologist, ophthalmologist, neurologist, etc.

The doctor performing the CE may not even specialize in a medical field that deals with their disabling condition (i.e. you may be alleging back pain but your consultative examination doctor might be a allergist), especially if the disability examiner needs information about the limitations of a physical problem (basically, social security sends you to whoever is available in your area to conduct a general exam).

Most individuals who have mental disabling conditions at least see someone who specializes in mental conditions. Typically, this may mean a psychiatrist if a full psychiatric exam is to be performed, but it will usually mean being seen by a psychologist if a memory test or IQ test, or a mental status exam is to be given.

Also, if disability examiners have plenty of general medical information but are in need of some clarification of the records, or a more expert evaluation of an individual’s condition or limitations, they may send them to a specialist for clarification. Consequently, some disability claimants receive more thorough evaluations by doctors who specialize in their disabling condition. That is if the disability examiner cannot determine their limitations through regular medical treatment records.

It was my experience as a disability examiner that far more general consultative examinations are performed than consultative examinations with specialists. And, for the most part, these consultative examinations are simply geared to give the disability examiner a general status of your disabling condition. Therefore, most consultative examinations do not lead to an approval for benefits unless they are something like intelligence quotient (IQ) testing or perhaps memory testing to evaluate mental functioning because these are not very subjective by nature.

With such testing, an individual completes the testing and their scores determine the severity of their disabling conditions. Whereas, the evaluation of other physical conditions, such as back pain, can be far more subjective.

Essential Questions

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Can you work while getting or applying for Disability?

How Often Does Social Security Approve Disability The First Time You Apply?

Tips for getting Social Security Disability or SSI benefits approved

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Receiving a Disability Award Letter

Conditions Social Security will recognize as a disability

Previously answered questions regarding SSD and SSI

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Most popular topics on SSDRC.com

Social Security Disability SSI Questions

The listings, list of disabling impairments

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Disability Lawyers prevent unnecessary denials

How much Social Security Disability SSI back pay?

How to apply for disability for a child or children

Filing a Social Security Disability SSI application

Filing for disability - when to file

How to apply for disability - where to apply

Qualifications for disability benefits

How to Prove you are disabled and Win your Disability Benefits

Qualifying for Disability - The Process

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SSI disability for children with ADHD

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More Social Security Disability SSI Questions

Social Security Disability SSI definitions

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New and featured pages on SSDRC.com

Who can help me file for disability?

Related pages:

Do CE exams usually result in denials for disability?
How to get disability, tip 1
How often do you have to recertify for Social Security Disability or SSI?
When Social Security Disability Sends You To A Doctor, What Kind Is It?
Who is The Doctor for a Social Security Disability Claim or SSI Case?
What should you get from your doctor to file for disability benefits?
Why Will You be Sent to a Social Security Doctor for your disability case?
Will Social Security Grant Disability If I Have Not Been To the Doctor?
If I apply for disability and my doctor says I am disabled, is there a waiting period to receive benefits?
SSA Medical Exam and your own Physician
How Important is the Treating Physician to a Social Security Disability or SSI case?
How do I file for my children and spouse if I get SSDI?

These pages answer some of the most basic questions for individuals who are considering filing a claim.

Can you get temporary Social Security Disability or SSI benefits?

Permanent Social Security Disability

What is the difference between Social Security Disability and SSI?

Who is eligible for SSI disability?

Can I Be Eligible For SSI And Social Security Disability At The Same Time?

What makes a person eligible to receive disability benefits?

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?

For the sake of clarity, SSDRC.com is not the Social Security Administration, nor is it associated or affiliated with SSA. This site is a personal, private website that is published, edited, and maintained by former caseworker and former disability claims examiner, Tim Moore, who was interviewed by the New York Times on the topic of Social Security Disability and SSI benefits in an article entitled "The Disability Mess" and also by the Los Angeles Times on the subject of political attempts to weaken the Social Security Disability system.

The goal of the site is to provide information about how Social Security Disability and SSI work, the idea being that qualified information may help claimants pursue their claims and appeals, potentially avoiding time-consuming mistakes. If you find the information on this site helpful and believe it would be helpful to others, feel free to share links to its homepage or other pages on website resource pages, blogs, or social media. Copying of this material, however, is prohibited.

To learn more about the author, please visit the SSDRC.com homepage and view the "about this site" link near the bottom of the page.