The Social Security Administration (SSA) may request that you attend a special medical exam as part of your application process for disability. These exams are often requested if the SSA needs to learn more about your medical condition or if it has been a long time since you last saw a doctor. If you need more information about the consultative exams, read on.
This exam is performed by a doctor that the SSA chooses on a contractual basis, and the exam is provided at no cost to you. It's important to note that this is an exam only, and no treatment will be provided by this doctor.
Normally, the exam will consist of a brief interview and a check of your vital signs (heart rate, temperature, blood pressure, weight, etc). Some exams may include lab tests and X-rays. The main objective of this exam is to determine the extent of your condition, which is evaluated by a close examination of the part of your body that is causing you to be disabled.
The doctor's report will contain the results of any tests, and the doctor will give an opinion on how much, if any, your disability affects your ability to do various levels of work, from sedentary to very heavy.
The consultative medical exam is often the last step in your disability determination, and the report of the results are normally available a few weeks after the exam, but delays are common. Once the report results are available, you will likely learn of your claim status shortly thereafter.
Your Claim Denial
Unfortunately, the consultative medical exam is not only the final step in your disability determination, it is often merely a precursor for your claim denial. The SSA seldom will request a consultative exam unless they have great doubt that your claim can be approved. It's important to note that while you may be turned down for benefits as a result of the exam, failing to attend the exam could cause your claim to be placed on an indefinite hold, which will prevent you from filing for an appeal.
Initial disability claims are often turned down, so instead of viewing the denial as a negative event, regard it as merely one step in the process for claim approval. Once you have been turned down, there are strict timelines to adhere to, so don't delay in seeking the help of a Social Security attorney to stand by you and assist you in getting your claim approved.