Medical Examinations for Social Security Disability and SSI

    The Social Security Disability Doctor Appointment is Called a CE
    The CE is typically needed in cases in which the claimant has no recent medical records that document his current state of health. Social Security defines 'recent' as within the past 60 days.

    What is the Purpose of the Social Security Disability SSI Medical Exam, or CE?
    As opposed to to myth, the CE, which is sometimes referred to as the "social security medical exam" is not conducted by doctors or therapists who work for the social security administration in any capacity.

    Social Security Consultative Medical Exams and How they affect Disability Claims
    In most cases the results of a CE exam are just a formality--basically just a way for a disability claim decision-maker to obtain some recent medical evidence that will allow them to close the claim.

    Social Security Disability Claims and Medical Exams
    Social Security Medical exams--which may be simple physical exams, neurological exams, appointments to have xrays done, mental status exams, memory or IQ testing, and even full psychiatric evaluations--are paid for and scheduled by the Social Security Administration.

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

    What should you say if you go to a Social Security Exam?
    In short, don't worry about what to say at your Social Security exam. Answer questions honestly regarding any limitations you have as a result of your impairment, and let the physician write up his report. CEs are usually just a formality anyway, and have very little impact on the outcome of your case.

    If Social Security Disability sends you to an Exam, will it be done by your doctor?
    It is rare that a claimant for Social Security Disability or SSI disability goes to a consultative medical exam (CE) that is conducted by his or her treating physician, although this is the stated preference of the Social Security Administration (SSA).

    How Long Does It Usually Take To Get Social Security Disability After I see Their Medical Examiner?
    Unfortunately, there is no direct correlation between when a person attends their consultative examination with a Social Security physician and when they get their disability.

    The Psychologist Exam for Social Security Disability and SSI Claims
    Psychological exams are usually performed by psychologists with independent practices who do not work for the Social Security Administration, but who have signed a contract to perform mental exams for the SSA.

    How Long Does It Take to get an answer on a disability claim?
    How long it takes to receive an answer on a disability application can depend on a number of factors; the time it takes to process a disability application for SSD or SSI benefits is largely beyond the control of the claimant. That is, of course, except in the case of scheduled appointments.

    How Far Back Does Social Security Look At Your Medical Records?
    Social Security Disability examiners like to have at a treatment history of twelve months or more to address potential limitations and the severity of an individual's disabling condition or conditions.

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.