If you have applied for Social Security Disability benefits, the Social Security Administration (SSA) may send you to be examined by an independent physician. The different array of examinations is generally considered consistent with your claimed disabilities. For example, if you have alleged depression or anxiety as a disability, SSA may send you to be examined by a psychologist; if you allege disability because of lower back problems, SSA may send you to be examined by an orthopeadic doctor.
In conjunction with the examinations, you may be asked to perform some tests. These tests could be intelligence tests, breathing tests, or simple x-rays. Again, the tests generally follow along with the claimed disability. Testing is considered a very important part of your disability claim because it can provide objective evidence of your disability, something that may carry a significant amount of weight with an Administrative Law Judge. Because of the importance of these tests, consider the following tips:
- Arrive on time with the proper identification and any notice given to you by SSA.
- Answer any and every question provided to you by the doctor or his/her staff. Understand that this is an independent medical examiner and they are unaware of your full battery of medical conditions. By answering in the most direct and appropriate matter, you are helping the medical examiner.
- DO NOT over exaggerate your conditions and/or concerns. Again, recall that this is an independent examiner. Most examiners work with the SSA and they are familiar with patients that may have ulterior motives. Therefore, be sure to provide only accurate responses while giving forth your absolute best effort.
- Immediately document your experience. Often, an examination may not be ordered until after you have seen the Administrative Law Judge. If that is the case, you may have a second hearing with the same judge. Your experience with the examining physician may be discussed as relevant evidence as to the validity of the examination.
If you have applied for Social Security Disability and have been scheduled for an examination, or have already undergone one, do not delay. Having an experienced attorney review your examination may help in your pursuit of disability benefits. The attorneys at Gardberg & Kemmerly have thorough experience in handling these cases and would be happy to look at your claim.