Overview of Disability

Disability Back Pay

Disability Requirements

Disability Applications

Disability Advice Tips

How long do cases take?

How to win Disability

SSD Mistakes to avoid

Disability for Mental

What if you get denied?

How to file Appeals

Disability through SSA

SSI Disability Benefits

Disability for Children

How do I qualify for it?

Working and Disability

Disability Award Notice

Disability Lawyer Q&A

Disability Conditions List

What is a disability?

Your Medical Evidence

Filing for your Disability

Disability Eligibility

SSD SSI Definitions

Recent Questions

SSDRC Disability Blog

Can you Refuse to go to a Social Security Medical Examination?

Yes, you can refuse to go to a CE, or consultative examination, commonly known as a "social security medical examination". However, its typically not wise.

You have to consider why a disability examiner wants to schedule a claimant for such an exam in the first place.

A) Usually, its because a claimant has not been to a medical treatment source in the last ninety days.

B) Sometimes a CE is scheduled because a claimant has never been treated for a condition on the disability application. Depression is a good example of this. Many individuals list depression on a disability application without ever having received treatment for depression from a mental health treatment source, or even from their own general practitioner (often in the form of an RX for an anti-depressant).

C) In other instances, a claimant will be sent out for a simple xray if an imaging report is not available from the claimant's list of medical treatment sources.

Flatly refusing to go a consultative exam can potentially result in a case being denied for failure to cooperate. And for a claimant who simply has no recent medical record documentation, not going to a consultative exam can only lead down the path to a denial.

Some claimants are understandably nervous about going to consultative exams, possibly because they fear some level of bias on the part of a "social security doctor". However, the doctors who perform such exams DO NOT WORK FOR THE SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION. They are independent physicians who perform examinations on a contract basis. Having said that, though, it's true that, when the topic arises, a large percentage of claimants who have gone to consultative exams will report that the examining physician was brusque or seemed to exhibit behavior that indicated a biased stance.

Generally, if a claimant goes to a physical consultative exam for a social security disability or SSI disability case, what they'll find is that ---

A) the exam will be fairly short
B) the doctor may be somewhat rude (a common complaint)
C) the doctor will ask them very little
D) and, topping it all off, the doctor will typically know little about their medical condition or history -- disability examiners will sometimes send the examining physician excerpts from the medical record to apprise them of the claimant's medical history, but there's no guarantee that the examining physician will read the information.

However, what a disability claimant will not be privvy to is the fact that, at the initial claim and reconsideration levels, consultative exams are usually scheduled so a disability adjudicator can simply obtain recent documentation for the the case can be closed.

None of which changes the fact, of course, that if you are scheduled to go to an examination appointment for your disability claim, you really need to go.

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

Related pages:

How to File for SSI
Social Security Disability hearing decision time
How to find out if approved for disability?
Why do I keep getting denied for disability?
Disability claim at reconsideration appeal level
If approved at a disability hearing, when do you get a letter or check?
Appealing A Social Security Disability Determination
Applying for disability, medical conditions
How do you Apply for SSI?
What medical conditions do they Award Disability Benefits for?
Disability requirements and how to file in North Carolina
How long will it take to get a decision on SSD or SSI after a medical examination?

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

What Mental Problems Qualify for Disability?
Disability for a mental condition
Tips for Filing for disability
Financial Help Filing For Disability
Checklist for filing for disability, SSI or SSD
Qualifying for disability benefits, how to qualify for SSD or SSI
Filing a disability application: the steps
Disability award notice, how long it takes to get benefits
How to Apply for Disability - Where do I go?
What makes you eligible to get disability?
How to check my disability claim status?
Can a disability attorney speed up a disability case?
SSI disability Award Letter
How long to get approved for disability?
How to apply for disability benefits
How long does disability back pay take?
What are qualifications for getting disability?
What medical conditions can you file disability for?
Disability Lawyer help questions
Social Security Attorneys, Disability Representatives