Yes, you can say the wrong thing during a social security consultative medical exam

I read this statement in a forum recently:

"I have a CE examination for SS disability this evening. I am scared to death that I may say the wrong things".

For those who may not be aware, the term CE stands for consultative examination. A CE is sometimes referred to by disability claimants and potential disability claimants as a social security medical exam.

Why are CEs scheduled and will you have to go to one if you apply for Social Security Disability or SSI?

Answer: consultative exams are generally scheduled by the social security administration when it becomes necessary to obtain additional medical record documentation. Most often, "additional documentation" is required when a claimant has not been seen by a doctor for quite some time or when it becomes apparent (to either a disability judge or a disability examiner) that a claimant may have a condition, mental or physical, for which they have not received treatment.

Now, back to the concern voiced by the poster. Can you say the wrong thing during a consultative exam? Actually, you can and this is how. If the physician performing the medical exam (these are private doctors who do not work for the social security administration, but, rather, are contracted to perform these examinations) inquires about your functional limitations or pain, you should not minimize your limitations or the pain you may feel.

Claimants, of course, should never exaggerate the extent to which their impairments affect them, but nor should they play down their limitations because this may work against them.

By the same token, when you see your own doctor, be sure to indicate how your condition affects and limits you as your doctor's notes will become part of your medical record history---and these medical records will be reviewed when your Social Security Disability or SSI disability claim is evaluated.

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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