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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.

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For the sake of clarity, SSDRC.com is not the Social Security Administration, nor is it associated or affiliated with SSA. This site is a personal, private website that is published, edited, and maintained by former caseworker and former disability claims examiner, Tim Moore, who was interviewed by the New York Times on the topic of Social Security Disability and SSI benefits in an article entitled "The Disability Mess" and also by the Los Angeles Times on the subject of political attempts to weaken the Social Security Disability system.

The goal of the site is to provide information about how Social Security Disability and SSI work, the idea being that qualified information may help claimants pursue their claims and appeals, potentially avoiding time-consuming mistakes. If you find the information on this site helpful and believe it would be helpful to others, feel free to share links to its homepage or other pages on website resource pages, blogs, or social media. Copying of this material, however, is prohibited.

To learn more about the author, please visit the SSDRC.com homepage and view the "about this site" link near the bottom of the page.