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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 individualís 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.

  • What medical conditions will get you approved for disability?

  • What kind of Mental Problems Qualify for Disability?

  • Which conditions will social security recognize as a disability?

  • Tips for getting Social Security Disability or SSI benefits approved

  • SSDRC Homepage:

    Social Security Disability and SSI Resource Center

    The Most Basic questions about Getting Disability Benefits

    Social Security Disability SSI and whether or not you can work

    Common Mistakes to avoid after being denied for Disability

    Social Security Disability SSI Questions and Answers

    More Social Security Disability SSI Questions and Answers

    Common Questions about Social Security Disability and SSI

    Winning Social Security Disability or SSI Benefits

    The SSI Disability Benefits Program

    Medical exams for disability claims

    Applying for Disability in various states

    Social Security Disability SSI and Doctors - Yours and Theirs

    Social Security Disability and SSI Claim Reviews

    Social Security Disability SSI System and Benefits for Children

    Denials, Appeals, and Getting a Disability Lawyer or Representative

    What you should know about Social Security Disability and SSI Denials

    Questions about Disability Lawyers and Hiring a Disability Attorney

    Frequently asked questions about getting Denied for Disability Benefits

    FAQ on Disability Claim Representation

    Disability hearings before Judges

    Selecting and hiring Disability Lawyers

    Various Types of Benefits including SSI, Mental, and Child benefits

    Social Security and SSI based on Mental Disability

    Social Security Disability or SSI Benefits for Children

    Disability Benefits through Social Security

    Filing for Social Security Disability or SSI Benefits

    Social Security Disability SSI: Medical Evidence and Records

    Filing your claim for disability benefits

    Eligibility for receiving disability benefits

    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

    Resources on this site

    Social Security Disability, SSI Terms and Definitions

    Previously answered questions regarding SSD and SSI

    For Individuals living in North Carolina

    Applying for Disability in North Carolina

    North Carolina Disability Lawyer

    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.

    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