After I File For Disability Will Social Security Pay For Me To See A Doctor?

Many disability applicants have a misconception as to the medical examinations provided by Social Security. Social Security consultative examinations are just short cursory examinations that give disability examiners enough current medical information to make a disability determination.

Consultative examinations are not to provide the disability applicant with medical treatment, although there are times that Social Security does perform additional medical testing that might be useful to the disability applicant.

Generally, Social Security does not schedule a consultative medical examination if an individual has had A) medical treatment in the past for their disability condition or conditions and B) current medical treatment for their disabling condition or conditions.

Additionally, there are times when disability examiners find other impairments mentioned in an individual's medical information that have not been alleged by the applicant but must be addressed.

For example, if an individual is filing for disability for a back problem and they happen to mention that they have been depressed or their doctor's notes show that the applicant is being prescribed medication for depression, they may have to attend a consultative examination in order for Social Security to address the severity of their depression.

Some applicants have to attend consultative examinations because they either have no medical treatment or they have medical treatment information that is more than ninety days old. Either way, disability examiners are required to schedule whatever consultative examinations are needed to provide current information about a disability applicant's medical and/or mental conditions.

Lastly, an individual might be required to attend a consultative examination even if they have a medical history and current medical evidence that addresses their disability condition. If the disability examiner cannot make a decision with the medical evidence in the file, they may send the disability applicant to a specialist (i.e. orthopedist, neurologist, etc.) for clarification of the medical information they have received from treating medical sources.

For the most part, disability applicants are sent for consultative examinations to get an idea of their ability to engage in work activity. Which means that the physician just checks general things like blood pressure, heart rate, and ability to move around if the individual is alleging a physical impairment; or the applicants ability to perform routine repetitive tasks in spite of their mental condition if they are alleging a mental condition.

Most consultative examinations are only done to allow the disability examiners to approve or deny an individual's disability claim. And unfortunately, most consultative examinations do not lead to an approval for Social Security Disability.

About the Author: Tim Moore is a former Social Security Disability Examiner in North Carolina, has been interviewed by the NY Times and the LA Times on the disability system, and is an Accredited Disability Representative (ADR) in North Carolina. For assistance on a disability application or Appeal in NC, click here.

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