AFTER A Social Security Disability OR SSI CLAIM IS TAKEN

What happens after a Social Security Disability or SSI Claim has been taken and is Pending

Once your disability case has been assigned to a disability examiner (examiners make decisions on cases at the disability application and reconsideration appeal levels, but not at the disability hearing levels), you may be asked to either provide additional information or attend an examination appointment.

If you get a letter stating that you must go to an examination, this will be something known as a CE, or consultative examination. A CE is conducted by a psychologist or physician to either--

A) Provide the social security administration with information that your own records may be lacking. For example, you may have indicated on your disability application that you have depression but have never been treated for this.


B) To provide recent medical records (SSA defines "recent" as within the last 90 days) that your case file is missing. Note: to be considered disabled, the social security administration must have proof that your state of disability exists as of the time that your claim is being considered. This means that the disability examiner or the disability judge must have access to current records.

Most consultative exams are short physical exams and they basically add nothing to the case credentials. They simply allow the disability examiner to make a decision on the case since the examiner is required to have recent evidence. However, sometimes a CE will be scheduled only to have an xray done, or to have either a psychiatric exam, or a memory evaluation, or even mental IQ testing conducted.

If SSA asks you to go to a CE, you should not miss the appointment. Missing the appointment will require rescheduling which will potentially adds weeks or months to your case. Also, and this is important, if you repeatedly fail to attend scheduled exam appointments or simply refuse to go, your case can be denied because you have failed to cooperate.

In addition to keeping your examination appointments, you avoid lags in the processing of your case by providing any added information that is requested by a disability examiner, such as reqarding your work history, or your ADLs, which means "activities of daily living".

Occasionally, a disability examiner will send a claimant a work history report form, or a daily activities questionaire. If you get one, complete it immediately and return it to the examiner. If you get something known as a call-in letter from the examiner, which simpy asks you to contact the examiner by phone (usually within 10 days), return the call immediately.

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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