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What can I expect from a Social Security Mental Examination or Evaluation?
I received a letter that I have to see a Psychologist for depression evaluation. My doctor has me on medication for the depression so what can I expect from this appointment? What are they looking for? Thank you for your help.
What to expect from a Social Security Mental Examination? Mental exams are different from physical consultative exams. They are longer for one thing. A physical CE can last as little as 15 minutes. Also, in many instances, claimants who have gone to CEs have stated that the physican performing the CE was rude or condescending.
Why is this? We can only speculate. Medical doctors who perform exams for Social Security do so to supplement their income, and since CE compensation rates are not high it is often true that the only doctors who do CEs are those who do not have especially thriving medical practices. At the very least, it is safe to say they don't have too many patients; otherwise, they would not be doing CEs for the Social Security Administration. Perhaps this is partially due to their skills and demeanor.
Mental exams, on the other hand, offer less opportunity for the psychologist or psychiatrist to descend to the level of rudeness or curtness. Why? Because this, obviously, can impact the mental affective state of the person being examined. This is not to say that it does not happen, but it probably happens less often.
Also, when it comes to physical exams, the examining doctor may literally know nothing about the claimant's medical condition. It is not uncommon for claimants who have severe degenerative spine conditions to report that they were examined by a gynecologist. When it comes to mental examinations, the examining professional will either be a licensed psychiatrist or licensed psychologist.
Mental exams go one of two ways. There are SSA psychological exams that test for memory, mental status, and for IQ. There are also SSA psychiatric exams. Psychiatric exams are given by M.D.s who are psychiatrists and psychological exams are often given by master's level psychologists.
What they are looking to capture on an IQ test is fairly obvious. The mental status exam is designed to get the mental examiners observations on the following type of information:
The ability to:
Note: In all consultative medical examinations scheduled by Social Security (sometimes by a judge but more often by a disability examiner), they are looking for evidence of functional limitations so that they can assess what you can still do and what you cannot do. A person filing for disability must be found to have a medically determinable impairment that is severe.
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