My Love Of The Law

Consultative Medical Exams And Social Security Disability

by Alan Medina

If you are filling for Social Security Disability benefits, you may have been contacted by the SSA and asked to undergo a consultative medical examination. This request by the SSA sometimes means that the agency suspects that your condition is not severe enough to qualify for benefits. The Social Security Administration (SSA) uses several methods of determining whether or not to approve your disability claim, but by far the most important factor this agency uses is your medical records. To learn more about the importance of consultative medical exams, read on.

About the consultative exam.

1.  This exam will not cost you anything, and the doctor who performs the exam does not work directly for the Social Security Administration, but is under contract to provide this service to the agency. You should not expect to have any treatment provided at this exam, is it simply an examination.

2.  Like most medical exams, you will have your vitals checked (weight, temperature, heart rate, blood pressure, etc) at the beginning of the appointment. Some exams will include lab work, such as blood and urine tests and diagnostic services such as x-rays.

3.  The doctor will interview you about your illness or injury, and will examine you carefully, paying special attention to the body parts affected by your medical condition. Since your ability to do your job is being evaluated, the doctor will place stress on specific body parts to test your ability to perform certain job functions.

What happens after the exam.

A report will be prepared by the doctor. The report details the doctor's findings, including any test results, and most importantly, it contains the doctor's opinion on how likely it is that you can work at your job, given the results. The doctor takes into consideration your ability to walk, carry, stand, lift, etc. In many cases, the consultative medical exam is the final step in your disability determination. Though there are rules about how soon the exam report must be made available, sometimes the 10-day deadline is missed by busy doctors. Often you will receive the results of your disability claim soon after the exam.

It's important to note that you must undergo this exam in order to move forward with your claim, even if you are consequentially denied benefits as a result of the exam. Being denied your benefits on your initial claim is quite common, so don't be discouraged. You do have options to appeal the denial, and with the help of a social security attorney and perseverance, you can get your claim approved.