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

Why would Social Security Send you to an Exam if You MEET a Listed Impairment?

Someone submitted this question recently and my first thought was--how do you, the claimant, actually know whether or not you meet a listed impairment?

True, anyone can visit the social security administration website, read the listings for various body systems, and note the listed criteria. However...interpreting the listings is not always the easiest thing to do, even for disability representatives and disability examiners. This is because many of the listings provide multiple tracks of disability approval criteria and often the listings are nested (layered), making the reading of them fairly tedious and, to most claimants I would assume, fairly incomprehensible.

Ok, but's lets assume that a claimant has ventured into the listings, located an impairment that they believe their condition meets or equals. That still doesn't change the fact that social security must have medical evidence that verifies this allegation.

And not only that, for a claimant to be approved for disability and receive ongoing benefits, there must be current evidence that documents and substantiates that the claimant is currently disabled. As in "at this very moment".

That, of course, is where the social security medical exam comes into play. If you file a claim for disability, a disability examiner cannot, in most instances, render a decision without having access to recent records. And "recent" typically means documentation created within the past 90 days (though it is not uncommon to order an exam for a claimant who has not been by a doctor in, say, the last 60 days).

Actually, an amazingly high percentage of claims that are filed with SSA (either for social security disability or SSI disability) involve claimants being sent to a CE, or consultative examination. And this is simply because so many claimants who file for disability either have not received any treatment for a specific medical condition, or have not received recent treatment in general from a medical professional.

What if you have a condition that is disabling but does not require continuous treatment, or your doctor has released you because, in the physician's opinion, you have reached MMI, or maximum medical improvement? As far as the social security administration is concerned, that fact is somewhat irrelevant.

Their position is that they cannot render a disability determination on your claim without recent medical documentation. And that, of course, is a logical position. After all, without a "recent snapshot" how can social security really know that a claimant is currently disabled, even if past medical records indicate that the claimant's condition effectively eliminated their ability to work and earn a substantial and gainful income?

If you get scheduled for a CE, or social security medical exam, you absolutely need to go, however. Not going can form the basis for a denial. And missing an appointment for an exam can result in significant wasted time as far as the processing of your claim is concerned.

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

Related pages:

Partial disability benefits
Appealing A Social Security Disability Determination
Disability requirements, eligibility, criteria
Permanent disability benefits
What Happens When You File an SSI or Social Security Disability Application?
How do you Apply for SSI?
Help filing for disability benefits with Social Security
How long or short is the Social Security Medical exam?
Tips for SSD and SSI disability hearings
Disability requirements and how to file in Illinois
What medical conditions do they Award Disability Benefits for?

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