When applying for Social Security Disability (SSDI) benefits, the disability examiner making the decision on your claim may request you attend a Consultative Examination (CE). While this examination is an extremely important part of the process, it can also be frustrating or confusing. We are here to answer some common questions about Consultative Exams to help you or someone you may know who is going through the SSDI process.
What is a Consultative Exam?
A Consultative Examination is a no-cost medical examination or test that is scheduled by the disability examiner to further evaluate your disabling medical condition(s). When an examiner finds inconsistent information in your medical records or does not feel there is sufficient medical evidence to make a determination on your claim, they may schedule you for a CE. It is important to note that this does not mean that your medical records are incomplete or lacking information. Social Security merely has various guidelines they must abide by before they can make a decision on a claim.
If a CE is scheduled for you, you will receive a letter in the mail from your local Disability Determination Services (DDS) office with the date, time, and location of the exam. It is important that you confirm you are able to attend this exam. If you are unable to make the scheduled time, you must let your DDS office know right away. Not verifying attendance or not showing up for your Consultative Exam could cause a delay in the processing of your Social Security disability application and may potentially lead to an unfavorable decision.
Confirming the date, time, and location of your Consultative Exam is step one. Step two is being prepared when you attend.
What do I need to bring to my Consultative Exam?
It is important to bring a photo ID, such as a driver’s license or state-issued ID, and a list of the medications you are currently taking to your CE. Once you arrive at the examination the doctor or medical provider will conduct the requested exam or test. It may take a several weeks following the exam before your disability examiner has received your results. The information received from the physician will help them make a decision on your Social Security disability claim.
Can my doctor perform my Consultative Exam?
Potentially, yes. When a Consultative Exam is requested, it typically means that your Social Security disability examiner is looking for something specific, such as a test or evaluation that you have not had — or one that you have not had recently enough to help them make their determination. If you are scheduled to have a specific test such as an x-ray, you may have your doctor perform the test and then send the results to your disability examiner. If a physical or psychological evaluation is being requested, we suggest checking with the disability examiner to see if this evaluation can be performed by your doctor being doing so. Oftentimes the examiner wants to have a different doctor do an evaluation, but in certain circumstances they will allow this information to be gathered by your doctor.
The Consultative Examination process may seem overwhelming, but rest assured this is a very common piece of the process when applying for SSDI benefits. If you are scheduled for a CE, please confirm your ability to attend and if you have any questions or concerns, please contact our office.
Nothing in this post is intended as advice or a suggestion to elect or not elect to claim benefits of any kind, including Social Security benefits, nor is it intended as financial advice in any way. The decision to claim benefits is a personal one that is contingent upon each individual’s unique circumstances.