If you are applying for benefits under Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), you may have to take a medical exam. The purpose of the Social Security Disability SSI medical exam is to provide the Social Security Administration (SSA) with additional documentation to support the information listed on your application.
If you receive an appointment letter informing you that you must undergo a disability medical exam, also known as a consultation examination (CE), it is not a bad sign. It does not mean that the SSA is skeptical of your application or that your evidence is insufficient. It simply means that the SSA needs more information before it can issue a decision.
If you worry about attending a CE or you have concerns about anything else regarding your application, working with a disability lawyer can help. The team at the Law Offices of Ogle, Elrod & Baril, PLLC, helps dozens of people get the benefits they deserve each year. Call 866-628-8179 for a free consultation.
What Is a Disability Medical Exam?
The CE is an evaluation to assess the physical, psychological, or cognitive medical condition listed on your disability application.
If your condition is physical in nature, then a medical doctor generally conducts your CE. For cognitive or behavioral issues, a clinical psychologist could administer the CE, rather than an M.D.
Who Conducts a Disability Medical Exam?
The doctor or psychologist who administers your CE is not an employee or representative of the SSA. They do not work for the government in any capacity. Most are private practice physicians who the SSA hires to conduct exams. Their job is to conduct the exam according to the SSA’s standards and then report their findings within a certain time frame.
The person conducting your CE does not have a vested interest in the outcome. The SSA does not hire them to “catch” applicants lying or embellishing facts on an application. The exam is a routine medical evaluation.
Why Do I Have to Undergo a Disability Medical Exam?
The SSA employee who reviews your claim is the one who decides whether an exam is necessary. This decision-maker typically makes the call to order a CE for one of two reasons:
- You listed a condition on your application for which you did not submit any medical evidence; or
- A certain amount of time has elapsed since your last doctor appointment for a qualifying condition.
Most CE exams result from the applicant not having seen a doctor in the last few months. The SSA is strict about having up-to-date information for any condition for which it grants benefits. The CE provides a streamlined method for you, the applicant, to receive a current exam for a listed condition and for the SSA to receive the results of that exam quickly.
How Does a Disability Medical Exam Affect My Claim?
Getting chosen for a CE is neither a good sign nor a bad sign. It is not a signal that the SSA is casting doubt on anything you wrote in your application. However, it does not indicate that your application is in the final stages of the approval process, either.
That said, in some cases, the CE can have an impact on the final decision in your case. If the SSA is considering approving your claim based on specific criteria but lacks supporting evidence, the results of your CE can give the organization what it needs to push your application through to approval.
In the same vein, CE results that contradict something listed on your application can hurt your approval chances. It might even lead directly to denial.
For the majority of disability applicants who undergo a CE, the process is a mere formality. It is a way for the person examining your file to get the medical documentation they need to push it through.
As long as you have been forthright in the application process to this point, you need not worry about a CE hurting your claim. If anything, it should help by providing another piece of evidence to back up your statements.
If you have any concerns, you should talk to one of our disability attorneys before attending your CE. Based on your unique situation, we can prepare you for what to expect and offer tips to make the process work in your favor.
For a Free Attorney Consultation, Call the Law Offices of Ogle, Elrod & Baril, PLLC, at 866-628-8179 Today.
The attorneys at the Law Offices of Ogle, Elrod & Baril, PLLC, want to help you with any issues you encounter while applying for disability benefits. Our goal is to get our clients approved with the least amount of hassle. For a free consultation, call 866-628-8179.
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