Overview of Disability

Disability Back Pay

Disability Requirements

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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

Will Social Security Award Me Disability if I have not been to the Doctor?

Social Security will award disability benefits if you satisfy the definition of disability, but this cannot happen without a medical determination based upon objective medical evidence. On the other hand, Social Security does not medically deny an individual if they have not seen a doctor. Now you may be wondering, just how does Social Security go about obtaining medical evidence when an individual has not been to a doctor for their disabling impairment or impairments?

Generally, Social Security disability examiners like to base their medical determinations on medical evidence supplied by the medical treatment sources of the disabled individual.

However, if an individual has no medical evidence, or they have not been to a doctor within the last ninety days, the disability examiner is obligated to obtain current medical information prior to making their disability determination.

Toward this end, disability examiners schedule consultative examinations--physical or mental examinations performed by a physician paid by Social Security--for individuals who have not been to a doctor within the past three months (however, its not uncommon for a CE, or consultative exam, to be scheduled when the last treatment date is only 60 days out).

This may sound good to an individual who has not been able to afford medical care, however this examination is not for the purpose of medical treatment. Remember, Social Security's goal is to obtain medical information in order to ascertain if a claimant is capable of working at a level that is considered to be SGA (substantial gainful work activity).

For practical consideration, SGA is a monthly earnings limit that is increased each year by Social Security. If an individual works and earns over the set monthly amount under regular work conditions, they are considered to be working at an SGA level. If an individual is performing substantial gainful activity (SGA), their disability claim will be denied even if the individual has significant medical problems. This is because the social security administration's definition of disability rests upon the precept that a disabled individual is incapable of working and earning SGA-level wages for at least 12 months.

As you can see, medical records are a very important component of the Social Security disability process. Consultative examination doctors are hired by Social Security to perform a one-time examination that will determine an individualís eligibility for Social Security benefits. Consequently, if at all possible, individuals who are applying for Social Security should at least try to get some medical treatment (i.e. hospital visits, clinics, or doctors) prior to applying for disability.

On the face of it, it would stand to reason that you might get a more thorough examination from your doctor than a doctor hired by Social Security to perform a one-time examination. However, as a former examiner I can safely state that in most cases the results of consultative exams have little positive effect on the outcome of a case.

In other words, A) few cases are won on the basis of a report provided by a physician who has been contracted to examine or test a disability claimant and B) the best medical record documentation will be provided by a claimant's treating physician who has an established history of treatment with the claimant and is also qualified to provide a medical source statement, or RFC form (detailing the claimant's physical and/or mental limitations),

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

Related pages:

If I File For Disability Will They Offset My Pension?
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Can you lose disability if cancer improves?
SSI Back Pay after being Approved
How many people get approved for disability from Social Security?
What Forms Do You Use to File For Social Security Disability?
How to file for disability in Maine
Do Lawyers Improve The Chances of Winning Social Security Disability or SSI?
Filing for disability with lupus
Social Security Disability Maximum back pay
Social Security Disability Claims and Medical Exams
Factors involved in Winning SSDI or SSI Claims
How to file for disability in Minnesota
Enough Work Credits For Social Security Disability Benefits?
Memory loss and filing for disability

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?
SSI disability status
How to prove you qualify for disability
Qualifying for disability eligibility requirements
How Does Social Security Decide If You Are Disabled
How much does disability pay?
Factors involved in Winning SSDI or SSI Claims
Applying for disability with Degenerative Disc Disease
How long to get a Social Security decision letter?
What Does Social Security Consider To Be a Disability?
The amount of back pay that you receive
Social Security medical disability determination process
If You Get Approved For SSDI Will You Also Get Medicare?
How long can you receive SSI or Social Security disability benefits?
How Long Does A Social Security Disability Appeal Take?
How Long Does It Take To Get Disability Benefits When You First File?
Can you work if you get SSI disability?
Social Security Disability attorney fees
Am I eligible to receive disability benefits?
What are the non medical requirements for disability
How to get SSI
Approved for disability benefits
SSD SSI disability hearing decision