Consultative Examinations for Social Security Disability
In many cases, Social Security will pay for you to see a doctor. This is called a consultative examination. Sometimes it is with an internal medicine doctor. Other times it is a specialist, such as a psychologist, cardiologist, or orthopedist. Social Security will schedule the appointment and send you a letter telling you when and where to go. You will need to take your photo ID with you to the appointment, but you will not be expected to pay for any of the services provided. This doctor is not there to treat you, however. The doctor will simply evaluate you and send a written report back to Social Security. In some cases, you may sign a release and have the report sent to your primary care doctor.
Over the years, I have seen hundreds, if not thousands, of consultative examination reports and have accumulated some pointers for how you should present your complaints to the doctor:
1. Always show up for your appointment on time and have your photo ID. Dress properly and carry any medical equipment you use on a frequent basis. For example, if a doctor has prescribed for you a cane or a walker, you should take these with you to the appointment.
2. Always be candid with the doctor and tell him about all of your complaints. Social Security has to consider ALL of your impairments, not just the "big" ones.
3. If you have a report from your own treating doctor, such as an x-ray, MRI, and CT scan report, feel free to take that with you to the appointment.
4. Always give your best effort. If a doctor thinks that you aren't trying or are purposefully giving a poor effort, he or she will put that in the report. Nothing hurts your credibility in front of the Administrative Law Judge more than a doctor saying that you didn't give your best effort during your examination.
5. Never exaggerate your symptoms. Just as above, if a doctor thinks you are purposefully exaggerating your problems, he or she will write it in the report and the judge will then question the truthfulness of everything else you say.
6. If you have trouble expressing yourself, it may be helpful to bring a family member or close friend along with you. This can be especially helpful if you have problems remembering things. A close friend or family member may be able to help explain things to the doctor.
These are simply general suggestions. If you have any questions about Social Security disability consultative medical evaluations, please contact one of Gardberg & Kemmerly, P.C.'s experienced Social Security disability attorneys today at 251-343-1111 for a free consultation. Gardberg & Kemmerly, P.C. represents Social Security disability claimants in Alabama, Mississippi, Florida, and Louisiana at all levels of the disability process from initial application to appeals to Federal Court.