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SSDRC Disability Blog

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.

Return to:  Social Security Disability Resource Center, or read answers to Questions

Related pages:

What to say if you go to a Social Security Exam
Why does Social Security send people to medical exams?
What is the purpose of the consultative examination?
Social Security uses mental examinations to evaluate a variety of mental disorders
How medical exams affect disability claims

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 provide answers to basic questions about pursuing disability benefits

Disability qualifications - Who will qualify is based on functional limitations
What do you Need to Prove to Qualify for Disability Benefits?
How to file for disability and the information needed by Social Security
What conditions do they Award Disability Benefits for?
How does back pay for Social Security disability work?
What makes you eligible for Social Security Disability or SSI? Part I
To get a Social Security Disability or SSI Award do you have to have a Permanent Disability?
Social Security Disability Status - when should I call to check
Do Lawyers Improve The Chances of Winning Social Security Disability or SSI?
What is qualifying for disability based on?
How to qualify for disability - The Process of Qualifying for Benefits
Receiving a Social Security Disability Award Letter
How long does it take to get disability?
Filing and applying for disability in Texas