When you apply for Social Security disability benefits, you can expect one of the two things typically happen. The Social Security Administration (SSA) either finds that you qualify for the benefits, or it asks you to provide further medical evidence to support your claim. Such evidence is typically required through a consultative exam. If you get denied, you may want to contact our Greenville disability lawyers.
When is a Consultative Exam Requested?
When you apply for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits, the first step in this process is to determine whether or not you are disabled. This is determined by a federal agency known as the Disability Determination Services (DDS). DDS assists SSA in making decisions regarding disability benefits applications.
Typically, DDS will analyze your disability claim by looking at the medical records and other evidence you provide. However, when this evidence is not enough, DDS decides that further evidence is required to make a decision regarding your claim. This is why you are requested to undergo a consultative exam.
Who Performs the Consultative Exam?
A consultative exam may be performed by your own physician or a different physician approved by the DDS. If the physician who provided your previous medical reports has the requisite qualifications, DDS will request them to perform the test. However, your physician has the option of refusing to perform the test for any reason. You can also refuse to have the test performed by your own physician if you want a different medical opinion.
DDS also has a right to recommend a different doctor for a consultative exam. This is typically the case when the reports of your treating doctor are not clear or if DDS finds that the doctor has credibility issues.
What Happens at a Consultative Exam?
When a physician performs a consultative exam, the aim is not to treat you or advice you on your medical condition. Instead, the sole aim of such an exam is to form a fair assessment of your medical condition.
During the exam, the physician may perform a physical exam and ask you about your medical history as well as any adverse symptoms you experience. You may also be asked to undergo specific tests such as X-rays or blood analysis.
SSA has clear content guidelines on consultative exam reports. These comprehensive guidelines are meant for health professionals but give a good idea of what type of tests and activities you can expect for different types of disabilities. It is advised that you go through these guidelines if you have been requested to attend a consultative exam in response to your disability benefits application.
Costs of a Consultative Exam
Any costs of a consultative exam are directly borne by the DDS. This means that you are not required to pay any money for the examination. However, it is compulsory for you to undergo a competitive exam when requested by the SSA. If you fail to appear at the examination, SSA is very likely to turn down your application.
Preparing for the Consultative Exam
As with any exam, it is best to come well-prepared for your consultative exam. During the exam, you will be asked about your medical conditions in detail. If you are not sure you can remember it all, it is best to note down the medical conditions and any treatments you have received in the past.
During the examination, you will be asked about your symptoms by the physician. It is important to provide clear and concise answers regarding your disability and the limitations caused by it. While you shouldn’t exaggerate, it is equally vital that you lay out your actual symptoms in detail.
Consultative exams or CEs are typically very brief. The physician you see for CE is legally required to spend as little time with you as is absolutely required for a medical opinion. This means that you can expect the exam to last only 5 to 10 minutes on average. Being well-prepared for the exam can be a huge plus in that you can more clearly communicate your condition within such a tight timeline.
How Can Disability Lawyers in Greenville SC Help You?
A consultative exam is more than just visiting a physician. The exam factors as a key piece of evidence in your benefits application. This is why it is important to consult qualified disability lawyers in Greenville SC before you undergo the scheduled exam. Here at Robert Surface Law Firm, we work with Greenville disability benefits claimants to help them prepare for a CE. With our expert attorneys, you have a far better shot at performing well at the exam. Call us today to book a FREE consultation with our lawyers.