How Long will it Take for the Social Security Disability Determination After Seeing the Psychologist?
Here is a question that was submitted:
"I have my Psychologist visit the second week of January. I called the Disability Examiner to confirm that I will attend the Psychologist apppointment. I asked if there is anything else that they are waiting for to make a decision other than the Psychologist report and she said that is all they are waiting for and need. How long will it take for a decision on determination after this?"
First the general information: Typically, consultative examinations are scheduled when there's little left to do on a claim. In most instances, this means that the claimant's past relevant work history has been identified and that the medical records have been received, read, and evaluated.
It also usually means that the case file is lacking either A) recent medical record documentation or B) medical record documentation that specifically addresses one or more of your physical or mental conditions.
I'd say more often than not, however, that consultative exams are set up to gather some amount of medical evidence, basically a snapshot, that's not older than 90 days. That's typically why I needed to schedule them when I worked as a disability examiner.
How long will it take get a disability determination after the exam, which in your case was a psychological exam? That depends on a few variables.
The psychologist who conducted your exam, and any consultative examiner for that matter, has 10 business days in which to submit a report to the disability determination services agency where the disability examiner is based. So, we're talking approximately two weeks. However, not every consultative examiner is timely, so it may be as long as three weeks.
Then, you have to factor in how backed up the disability examiner is. If the examiner is exceptionally loaded down with cases, it could be a few days before he or she even looks at the file, even after the CE report is in. I would say that this is not usually what happens, however, because...disability examiners have every incentive to get cases off their desk. And cases that have all the needed records associated with them are ideal for this purpose.
But, then, there is the matter of getting the case "out of the agency". In most instances, the disability examiner will be required to run the case by a unit medical consultant and/or a unit psychological consultant before the case can finally be decided. And even after that point the case will need to be reviewed by the disability examiner's unit supervisor or unit assistant supervisor.
So...how long does it take to get a disability determination after you've gone to a psychological exam? I'd say roughly three weeks if you count the time it takes to get the psychological exam report and then wait on the examiner and his or her unit's various personnel to do their associated jobs.
Keep in mind, however, that in a few cases it may take a week less than this if everything goes along very smoothly.
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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