If you have applied for Social Security Disability benefits, you were required to submit medical evidence that provides proof that your disability has lasted for at least one year or is expected to last for a year. The evidence must also show how the medical impairment keeps you from being able to perform any kind of work tasks. The Social Security Administration (SSA) has strict requirements for the medical records they want to see to evaluate an application for SSD benefits. Your state Disability Determination Service DDS) will notify you by mail if the SSA requires a medical examination (also called a consultative examination CE). The exams are scheduled and paid for by the SSA. They are not optional and if you choose not to attend, you run the risk of having your claim for disability benefits denied.
Reasons for requesting a medical examination for SSD applicants
The SSA is not required to tell you why they require a consultative exam, but it could just be a routine request to complete your application. Other possible reasons include:
- A possible inconsistency in your other medical records
- The medical documents you submitted might be insufficient or outdated
- The SSA might need test results that your records do not contain
What kinds of doctors perform medical exams for the SSA?
CEs are performed by independent doctors who are contractors for the SSA. They perform physical exams, psychological, psychiatric, and neurological exams along with routine testing such as x-ray or MRI. The SSA is looking to get an objective opinion about how your medical condition impairs your ability to perform work tasks.
Is the fact that a CE has been scheduled a bad thing?
There is no need to worry about what a scheduled CE means for your SSD claim. You will likely never know why, so it makes no sense to worry about it. Your job is to cooperate with everything the SSA tells you to do. Attend the examination unless a legitimate reason keeps you from being able to go. Your appointment can be rescheduled with your claim examiner when you have a valid excuse for not being able to make it.
While you are at the exam, give clear, concise answers about your symptoms neither down-playing them nor trying to make them seem worse than they are. Ask the examining doctor if you can make an audio recording of the exam. If they do not allow it, make a mental note of it.
After the exam take down a few notes about what the doctor said and did, what tests they performed and whether they allowed you to ask questions and fully explain your symptoms.
Do you or someone you care about have a disabling health condition that prevents you from being able to work a full-time job? If so, you are encouraged to speak to an experienced Philadelphia Social Security Disability lawyer at Larry Pitt & Associates. We listen to what you have to say, answer your questions and offer legal guidance. To learn more, please contact us or call 888.PITT.LAW to schedule an appointment at any of our offices serving clients in Berks, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia Counties.