Understanding the SSA Consultative Exam
April 1st, 2019 by Attorney John Colvin
Applying for and receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is not an easy process. This is especially true in Tennessee, which leads the nation in denial of benefits. You may assume that if you are disabled and unable to work because of your disability, you will be granted SSDI. Unfortunately, the SSDI application process can sometimes become daunting for disabled individuals in need of benefits just to survive.
The Social Security Administration (SSA) requires that you complete your application completely and correctly and have extensive documentation to back up your claim. If the TN Disability Determination Services (DDS) decides you have not submitted enough information for them to render a decision, they may request an SSA consultative exam. New regulations give this exam increased weight in determining your eligibility for benefits, and it’s vital you understand its purpose.
What Is An SSA Consultative Exam?
If you are asked to undergo an SSA consultative exam, it’s not optional. It may be performed by your own doctor or another physician contracted by the state. The DDS office, not you, will decide who performs the consultative exam and will be responsible for payment.
You may be required to submit to the exam regardless of the fact that your personal physician has complied with state requests for your records. Many times a consultative exam is requested if you have a condition that the SSA believes should be looked at by a specialist, or your medical history is spotty. This is just one of many reasons why visiting a doctor regularly is so important, even while healthy. Having a consistent and comprehensive medical record will lessen the likelihood your disability claim will be delayed due to a consultative exam request.
The purpose of an SSA consultative exam is to determine your current state of health and limitations. The examining physician should not offer medical advice or treatment.
The doctor will ask questions about your medical history and the nature of your disability and conduct a physical and/or psychological examination (depending on the specifics of your case). They may also deem it necessary to take blood and perform other tests.
This should go without saying, but during your exam, do not exaggerate or lie to increase your chances of receiving benefits. Be honest, thorough, and clear about the nature of your disability.
As with every step of your SSDI journey, it’s important to be proactive and document, document, document. Doctors performing SSA consultative examinations are required to spend a minimum amount of time with each applicant. Check your watch (or phone) when you enter and leave the exam room and note how long you were there. Write down what happened in your own words.
Lawyer John Colvin Will Guide You Through the SSDI Process
If you’ve been asked to undergo an SSA consultative exam — or are in any other stage of the SSDI process — having an experienced, compassionate social security disability lawyer on your side will maximize your chances for receiving the benefits you need.
Attorney John Colvin of Winchester, TN, has been practicing law for over 20 years and devotes a large part of his practice to helping people with their SSDI claims.
He will advise you and fight for you every step of the way. He will listen and give you straight answers about your case. He will ensure that every “i” is dotted and every “t” is crossed on your paperwork that is submitted to the Administration and that the disability determination reviewers have all of the necessary documentation. If you are required to undergo an SSA consultative exam, he will review the consultative examiner’s written report for inconsistencies and inaccurate information that sometimes arise when the consultative examiner fails to adequately consider the treating medical records and objective medical testing.
To schedule a free consultation about your SSDI Claim with John R. Colvin, Attorney at Law, contact us today.