Social Security Disability Resource Center
Overview | How to Qualify | Applications
Requirements | How long it takes | Back Pay
Mental Disability | What is a disability? | Tips
SSI Benefits | How to Win | Disability Awards
Hearings | Appeals | List of Disabling Conditions
Will an SSI or Social Security Exam help with the Decision?
A disability exam may help with the decision on a disability case. Or it may not. However, it really depends on what a person means by "help". To answer that, we should discuss why it is that social security sends claimants to examinations in the first place.
The social security medical exam is actually something called a CE, or consultative examination. These exams are sometimes ordered by administrative law judges who hold disability hearings. But probably 95 percent of the time they are scheduled by disability examiners who are trying to make decisions on disability applications and reconsideration appeals.
A CE is ordered by a disability examiner in just a couple of scenarios:
1) When the person filing for disability benefits has alleged on their application for disability that they have a certain physical or mental condition, but there is no evidence of them ever having received treatment for the condition. Depression is a condition that often fits this category. An individual will list depression when they file for disability; yet they have never received counseling, been prescribed medication, or even mentioned to a psychiatrist, or even their family doctor, that they are experiencing, or have experienced, depression.
In some cases, claimants will allege that they have carpal tunnel syndrome or a back condition but have not been officially diagnosed or treated by a doctor.
2. When the person applying for disability has received a diagnosis for their condition and has received medical treatment in the past, but has not received recent medical treatment. For SSA, recent medical treatment means treatment received in the last 90 days.
How important is recent medical treatment and having documentation of this? The social security administration takes the position that a person cannot be considered disabled as of the here and now (and, thus, cannot qualify for disability), if they do not have medical proof that is recent.
Now that we've gone over why a social security exam is usually scheduled, we can state that consultative examinations definitely help in the sense that they allow a disability examiner to make a decision on a social security disability or SSI case.
However, this does not mean that it, in any way, shape or form, pushes the case toward an approval. Speaking as a former disability examiner, I can state that in most instances the results of a consultative medical examination has little positive effect on a case. As was said, it usually just allows a decision to be made since it provides a small amount of recent evidence when it is lacking.
Having said this, however, there are many cases that are already in the position of being approved for disability benefits based on the cumulative record but which are lacking recent records. In these cases, getting the results of a CE, i.e. a social security medical exam, will facilitate a case being approved.
In other words, when a claimant is in the position of qualifying for disability, getting the report from a CE can simply tie up the loose lends and make the approval happen.
Finally, there are cases in which the results of a CE do substantially provide evidence that results in the awarding of benefits. For example, when claimants are sent to a mental consultative exam, this is often to have memory or IQ testing done. And in cases for which memory impairment or low IQ are alleged, the results of this testing can provide a basis for approval.
Also, in some cases, a physical CE will be a neurological exam or an appointment to have an XRAY done (at the government's expense, of course) and the medical information provided can also provide a needed basis for approval.
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
About the Author of SSDRC, Tim Moore
For Individuals living in North Carolina
Applying for Disability in North Carolina
North Carolina Disability Lawyer
How long does it take to get a decision on Social Security disability or SSI?
What kind of Final Decision can I receive on my Disability Application?
How are Decisions on SSDI and SSI Disability Claims made by SSA?
How the Decision on a Disability Application or Appeal is Made
Who Makes The Social Security Disability Decision, A Judge Or A Caseworker?
How long does the Social Security judge take to make a decision on a case?
Will an SSI or Social Security Exam help with the Decision?
Can you get a Social Security Disability decision in under a month?
Still Waiting For My Social Security Disability Decision
The average amount of time it takes for a disability decision
Social Security Disability, SSI Decisions – What Is the Rate of Approval?
Social Security On The Record Disability Decisions
Texas Permanent Disability Benefits
Eligibility and qualifying for disability in Texas
How Much Are The Fees and Cost For a Disability Lawyer in Texas?
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