What Should I Expect in My Medical Examination?
You can’t work because of severe health problems, so you’re applying for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits. You know the monthly checks and Medicare health coverage that come with SSDI could make a major difference in your life.
Then Social Security tells you they want to send you to a doctor of their choosing for a medical examination, called a consultative exam.
What does that mean?
First, be careful. These exams aren’t designed to help you win benefits.
Second, get a disability lawyer to protect your rights.
An experienced lawyer can help you make sure you collect all the medical evidence you need—from your own doctors—to qualify for benefits and move forward to better times.
Merryl Jones, the Second Chance Lawyer, has helped thousands of people in Waco and across Central Texas win disability benefits over the last 20 years.
What’s Wrong with Consultative Medical Examinations?
Consultative exams could hurt your claim for benefits partly because they barely touch the surface of your health problems, which are often complicated and have a long history.
But this is a quick visit with a doctor who doesn’t know you. The doctor may be rushed and abrupt with you.
This exam isn’t part of your treatment for your condition, but merely a snapshot of how you look on the day you go in.
Social Security might want to send you to an exam because claims administrators think you haven’t provided enough information about your condition, or you haven’t visited your doctor in a long time.
The exam can include physical and mental evaluations, as well as tests such as blood work and X-rays. It aims to determine how much you can function in a job despite your health problems. The key to winning disability benefits is proving you can’t work.
You don’t have to pay for the exam. You also don’t have to pay for an evaluation of your situation from Merryl Jones.
What Should I Do About My SSDI Medical Examination?
To make sure you get the medical evidence you truly need to win benefits, visit your own doctor regularly. Records from your ongoing treatment are a crucial part of your case.
You also can tell Social Security you want to go to your own doctor for the consultative exam. You’ll need to check that your doctor is willing to do this, but if possible it’s always better to see somebody who understands your medical conditions.
If you can’t go to your own doctor for the exam, take these steps to protect your chances of winning benefits:
- Arrive a few minutes early and come prepared with a list of your medical conditions and medications.
- Be clear and descriptive when discussing your condition. While it’s important not to exaggerate your symptoms, make sure you respond clearly to questions.
- Right after the exam, write down everything that happened. If the exam ends up threatening your claim, you could use this information to argue the exam was faulty.
- You can even ask the doctor to let you record the visit. If they say yes, that gives you a document of what happened. If they say no, make a note of that, too.
- Bring someone with you who can testify about how long your exam takes. These exams are often short, which calls into question how meaningful they are.
Get Help Gathering the Medical Evidence You Need
Working with a disability lawyer can ensure you’re prepared for a consultative medical exam.
Or better yet, your lawyer can guide you in collecting all the other medical evidence you need, so you can win disability income.