How to file for disability, Filing for SSI
Disability Requirements, Disability Status
How long is the wait?, Disability Application
The Social Security List of Impairments
Qualifying for Disability, Mental Disability
Disability Lawyer Info, Disability Back Pay
Important things to know about Social Security Disability, SSI exams
Here are some things to keep in mind if you have a claim for Social Security Disability or SSI benefits.
1. You may or may not be scheduled to go a consultative medical exam. In other words, the standard routine for processing disability cases does not require the scheduling of examinations. However, you are more likely to be sent to such an examination if one of the following applies:
a) You have not been seen by a doctor in a long time. b) You have a condition, either indicated by you on your application, or indicated somewhere somewhere in your records, that you have not received treatment for.
How could you have a condition that is listed in your medical records that you have not received treatment for? Here's a good example, one that happens often. If a claimant decides to apply for disability based on fibromyalgia or decides to apply for disability based on MS (or any other condition) and has never been treated for depression, yet a doctor has indicated somewhere in the medical notes that the claimant is depressed, this may cause the scheduling of a mental exam.
Very often, claimants who do not consider themselves to have depression or who did not cite depression on their disability applications will find themselves going to a mental status exam or a psychiatric exam simply because their family doctor indicated a single word in the treatment notes: "depression". And, often as well, these claimants are aggravated and irritated by being required to do this. Why does social security do this? To make sure that a claimant receives full consideration for their impairments, even impairments they may "possibly have".
2. If you are scheduled for a Social Security Disability medical exam, you must go. Going to a CE is not optional and, in fact, a failure to attend a scheduled exam can potentially be grounds for a denial of a claim due to a failure to cooperate. If, of course, you are unable to make your appointment, due to a transportation issue or sickness, you may ask for a rescheduled appointment.
3. If you go to a Social Security Disability medical exam, it may last as short as ten minutes. Yes, they can be very short. Many claimants are surprised when they go to a doctor's office and find that the "social security medical exam" can be this brief. Even more are surprised when the examining physician does not ask them about their condition or medical history.
But the reason for a consultative exam is not to A) provide medical treatment or B) make, prove, or disprove a medical diagnosis. Most physical disability exams are simply for the purpose of allowing a disability examiner to gather "recent medical evidence" so that a case may be closed. Yes, in most instances, a physical exam is scheduled only because a claimant has not been to a doctor in the last 60 days and, usually, the purpose of going to such an exam is nothing more than that.
4. Some disability exams are not really exams. Sometimes a disability exam is actually testing. For example, individuals with respiratory complaints (such as COPD or asthma may be sent to spirometry, also known as a pulmonary function test or breathing test. And, sometimes, claimants are sent for xrays if they have degenerative conditions such as arthritis.
5. Be prepared for the possibility that your examining doctor may be rude. As a disability examiner, I literally heard hundreds of complaints from claimants who had gone to social security medical exams and had been treated rudely. One would have to wonder why it is that medical professionals who have elected to provide examination services to social security would behave this way. But, right or wrong, it seems fairly common.
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Disability Lawyer help questions
Social Security Attorneys, Disability Representatives
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.