When you receive notice from the Social Security Administration (SSA) to appear for your consultative examination (CE), you have made it to another stage in the process of obtaining your Social Security Disability benefits. However, this notice also lets you know that your medical records currently provide insufficient medical evidence allowing the SSA to make a determination about your disability claim.
The Disability Determination Service (DDS), funded by the federal government, but operated within each state, including Maryland, assists the SSA in determining disability claim requests. This agency asks you to submit to a CE or follow through with others tests if it fails to find sufficient evidence in your existing medical records to approve your claim, or if that evidence is not current. The cost of the consultative examination is paid for by the SSA.
Who completes the consultative examination?
If you have a treating doctor and he or she has the required skills and equipment to perform the exam, the SSA will issue a request that your doctor complete it. However, your doctor may refuse to do so. If this happens, the DDS will arrange the exam with another doctor. In addition, if the DDS does not have confidence in your doctor or if the agency is attempting to clear up any confusion in the report issued by your treating doctor, or if you simply want to see another doctor for this appointment, you will be assigned another doctor.
Any individual performing the consultative examination must be a licensed physician in private practice, or operating under a licensed doctor’s supervision.
What does the CE entail?
At your appointment, the doctor or examiner will inquire about your medical history and any subjective complaints you have about your medical condition. He or she will then conduct your physical examination. This will include performing any tests requested by the DDS. Once your consultative examination is completed, an examination report will be issued that includes the results of your exam, your medical and treatment history, any laboratory findings, and estimates of your capability to perform required functions in the workplace.
This exam is only an assessment. Your doctor/examiner will not provide an opinion about whether you should receive disability benefits. The doctor/examiner will only deliver a comprehensive assessment of your exam, treatment and medical history, and lab reports, along with a professional estimation of your ability to work. The Disability Determination Service will often receive the exam assessment within 10 days.
What if I am claiming mental impairment?
The Social Security Administration refers to a psychological or psychiatric consultative exam as a mental status examination (MSE). If your claim is one of mental impairment, such as bipolar disorder, depression, or anxiety, the DDS may refer you for an MSE. At this exam, the attending physician will test various aspects of your mental condition and capabilities, including concentration, memory, judgment, and intelligence, in addition to your ability to follow directions. Tests at this exam may include IQ and neuropsychological testing.
If you are scheduled for a consultative examination, a Maryland disability benefits attorney from our team at Plaxen & Adler, P.A. can explain your rights, and what to expect at your exam and throughout the SSDI claims process. To set up a free consultation, please call us today at 410.730.7737 or send us a message through our contact form.