Social Security Disability Resource Center

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.

  • Index of Social Security Disability SSI Questions and Answers

  • 56 Answers to Social Security Disability SSI Questions

  • SSDRC Homepage:

    Social Security Disability and SSI Resource Center

    The Most Basic questions about Getting Disability Benefits

    Social Security Disability and SSI Back Pay Benefits

    Social Security Disability SSI and whether or not you can work

    How long does it take for Social Security Disability or SSI?

    Social Security Disability SSI Awards and Award Notices

    Tips, Mistakes, How to Qualify, and How to Win Disability

    Tips and Advice for Social Security Disability and SSI Claims

    Common Mistakes to avoid after being denied for Disability

    Disability Qualifications and How to Qualify for Disability Benefits

    Winning Social Security Disability or SSI, How to Win

    Denials, Appeals, and Getting a Disability Lawyer or Representative

    What you should know about Social Security Disability and SSI Denials

    Social Security Disability and SSI Appeal Process - How to file appeals

    Questions about Disability Lawyers and Hiring a Disability Attorney

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

    SSI Disability Benefits, Questions and Answers

    Social Security and SSI based on Mental Disability

    Social Security Disability or SSI Benefits for Children

    Disability Benefits through Social Security

    Information to start with regarding Disability Claims

    An Overview of Social Security Disability and SSI

    What is considered a Disabling condition by Social Security?

    The Disability Requirements to be eligible for SSD and SSI Benefits

    Filing for Social Security Disability or SSI Benefits

    Social Security Disability and SSI Applications

    Social Security Disability SSI List of Conditions and Impairments

    Social Security Disability SSI: Medical Evidence and Records

    Filing your claim for disability benefits

    Eligibility for receiving disability benefits

    Resources on this site

    Social Security Disability, SSI Terms and Definitions

    Previously answered questions regarding SSD and SSI

    The SSDRC Disability Blog

    For Individuals living in North Carolina

    Disability in North Carolina

    North Carolina Disability Lawyer

    Getting disability in North Carolina

    Related pages:

    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

    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