If your doctor is willing, they can perform the disability exam

I've heard this question voiced more than once. If Social Security sends you to a Consultative Medical Exam, will it be done by your own doctor? Answer: maybe...but probably not. Why? Part of it is probably because most doctors, and in most cases that includes your doctor, don't want to conduct consultative examinations for social security due to the low amount of compensation provided by SSA. The other part may be due to the problems that go hand in hand with physician recruitment.

What do I mean by physician recruitment? Basically, getting doctors who are willing to conduct medical exams for social security.

DDS, or disability determination services agency, has something called a PRO, or professional relations office, staffed by individuals who attempt to recruit, and retain, independent physicians to conduct CE appointments for individuals applying for disability. Doctors regularly drop out of the pool of doctors available for such examinations because A) the rate of compensation is not high and B) they often get fed up with the number of disability claimants who miss their appointments without providing advance notification.

Of course, if you are scheduled for a consultative physical examination and...

1) You can't, for whatever reason, go on the date you've been scheduled -- then call the disability examiner who's handling your case to let them know. That way, you can avoid a missed appointment, get a new examination date scheduled, and probably save some processing time on your case.

2) You'd like your own doctor to conduct your consultative physical examination -- then it wouldn't be a bad idea to A) ask your doctor if he/she would be willing to perform the exam and B) notify the disability examiner who is handling your case that you would prefer to be examined by your own doctor and that your doctor is willing to conduct the examination.

Note: According to the social security administration's own published information, SSA would prefer that the consultative medical exam be conducted by your own doctor. In fact, here's the language from the blue book on this: "The treating source is the preferred source for a CE if he or she is qualified, equipped, and willing to perform the examination for the authorized fee".

However, this rarely happens. So rarely that, as an examiner, I can't recall it ever happening. And this is the recollection of other examiners I have spoken to as well.

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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